Plant-based diets are becoming ever more popular. More and more people, from all walks of life, are turning to what is considered to be a healthier way of eating. This is reflected in global vegan statistics.
There are a number of places in the world where consuming animals and any product obtained from animals is frowned upon or even forbidden for spiritual or moral reasons.
However, in Europe and the United States, for instance, abstaining from meat, dairy and eggs has, until fairly recently often been seen as just a trend. Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet were considered a little weird and a minority.
Veganism was often reported negatively in the media suggesting that those who followed such a diet would not be getting the required nutrients.
Perhaps in the same way that the media might encourage you to go for that Sloto Cash fun, fear was often the tactic used to encourage parents to steer clear of feeding their children a plant-based diet. At the same time however, it was not easy to find good meat-free alternatives.
Now, things have changed considerably and it is possible to find them everywhere and they taste better.
Veganism is trending all around the world
The interest in plant-based nutrition has grown exponentially all around the world. In fact, the word Plant based seems to have replaced the word Vegan, making it more acceptable and accessible to more people. Today in your local supermarket you can find plant-based alternatives for meat, milk, cheese and even ice cream. With the increasing demand, most restaurants today also have plant-based dishes on their menus.
Plant-based eating has no generational boundaries. However, the major push seems to have come from Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1995. It is now a global phenomenon with many celebrities and those in the athletic world and the business world supporting a move to plant-based eating. Plant-based eating is slowly becoming more mainstream and is likely to have lasting effects.
What do the statistics say?
There has been a worldwide increase in demand for plant-based foods. In 2017 the giant food company, Nestle, predicted that the plant-based food trend would continue to grow. And it has been growing steadily since then.
Back in 2020 sales for vegan “dairy” and “meat” had reached $29 billion and this figure is expected to reach around $162 billion by 2030. The Bloomberg Intelligence Report concurs with this saying “Plant-based food sales are expected to increase fivefold by 2030.” Today it is estimated that these vegan meat and dairy alternatives constitute 8% of the worldwide “protein food” market.
Many of the largest food companies are now looking at ways to develop products that will be able to compete in this new market, making Nestle’s prediction correct.
Delivery service and vegan foods
At times when eating out was less of an option, and people were opting to have food delivered, we see a rise in the selection of plant-based products.
For example, in the “State of the Plate”, Grubhub’s third annual report in 2021 they found people “frequently opted for plant-based versions of classic take-out items. They also found that “overall vegan food delivery orders increased by 17%” compared to 2020 and pointed out that particularly orders for vegan burgers grew by 28% and vegetarian ones by 55%. Grubhub predicts that this trend will continue to grow as does another food supplier, ShelfNow who reported a “156% increase in vegetarian food sales and a 150% increase in vegan food sales between 2020 and 2021.”
Further evidence showing the increase in Veganism
Below are a number of studies that confirm the rise in demand for plant-based foods:
- Google Trends found a significant global increase in those interested in veganism between 2004 and 2022. The greatest interest was seen in Australia, Austria, Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
- In a survey carried out by OkCupid, a dating app, they found that a huge number, 90%, of clients selected “caring about the environment” as an important factor when considering a romantic partner. The biggest group of OKCupid users are Millennials and it is thought that it is this group who are the main instigators and push towards a plant-based diet.
- A study carried out by Ipsos Retail Performance found that between 2004 and 2019 the number of vegans in the United States increased by 30- fold. There were 10,000,000 vegans in 2019 in contrast to 290,000 in 2004. That number has likely grown larger since 2019.
- The Vegan Society in the UK together with Vegan Life magazine carried out research in 2016 which found an increase in those purporting to follow a vegan diet by 360%. This is in contrast to the numbers 10 years earlier.
- According to 2020 data, in Canada the number of vegetarians is 2.3 million and 850,000 vegans. An overall increase of 250%. British Columbia stands out as having the largest number of plant-based eaters. In 2019 Canada published its Dietary Guidelines and plant-based foods were recommended. The emphasis was put on eating plant-based proteins as opposed to real animal and processed meat products.
- According to research done by Nielsen, between 2007 and 2017 the number of vegetarians in Portugal increased by 400%. In 2017 Portugal became the first country to pass a law that made it a requirement to offer a vegetarian meal option in all government facilities, including schools, hospitals and prisons.
- In Asia we see an increase in the adoption of plant-based diets. In China’s Food Based Dietary Guidelines of 2016, it was recommended to include a lot of vegetables and soya in the diet. The Chinese government is actively encouraging the population to decrease the amount of meat they eat by 50% in order to improve the environment and the nation’s overall health.
- Between 2014 and 2016 in Australia the number of foods with a vegan stamp increased by 92%. And reports published in 2020 have put Australia as one of the top countries where plant-based eating is preferred.
- In the United States many of the major health organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and the American Institute for Cancer Research are all acknowledging the benefits of a plant-based diet and therefore are making this their recommendation.