What Percentage of the UK is Vegan or Vegetarian

If you’re curious about the prevalence of veganism and vegetarianism in the UK, you’re not alone. Many people are interested in understanding the dietary choices of the population and the impact they have on the food industry and the planet. In this article, we will delve into the percentage of the UK population that follows a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and explore some key factors that contribute to these dietary choices.

The Rise of Veganism and Vegetarianism in the UK

The past decade has witnessed a significant increase in the number of UK residents embracing vegan and vegetarian diets. This shift can be attributed to a variety of factors, including ethical concerns regarding animal welfare, environmental awareness, and health considerations. As a result, the percentage of the UK population identifying as vegan or vegetarian has reached unprecedented levels.

Understanding the Percentage Breakdown

While it is challenging to calculate the exact percentage of the UK population that is vegan or vegetarian, various surveys and studies provide valuable insights into these dietary choices. Here are some key findings:

  • Poll Data: According to a 2020 poll by The Vegan Society, around 1.2% of the UK population identifies as vegan, and a further 5.7% follow a vegetarian diet. This means that approximately 6.9% of the population prefers plant-based diets.
  • Demographic Differences: The prevalence of veganism and vegetarianism can vary across different age groups and regions. Younger individuals tend to adopt plant-based diets more frequently, with a higher proportion of vegans and vegetarians falling within the 16-34 age range.
  • Urban vs. Rural: Urban areas, such as cities and towns, often have a higher concentration of vegan and vegetarian populations compared to rural areas.

The Impact on the Food Industry

The growth of veganism and vegetarianism in the UK has not gone unnoticed by the food industry. As more people embrace plant-based lifestyles, the demand for vegan and vegetarian options has soared. Restaurants, supermarkets, and food manufacturers have responded by expanding their plant-based offerings to cater to this growing market segment. This shift has led to increased innovation and the development of new and exciting plant-based products.

Environmental and Health Considerations

Vegan and vegetarian diets have gained attention due to their potential positive impact on both human health and the environment. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Environmental Benefits: Plant-based diets require fewer resources and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to meat-based diets. By reducing animal agriculture, veganism and vegetarianism contribute to mitigating climate change and protecting natural resources.
  2. Health Considerations: Plant-based diets can provide various health benefits when well-balanced and nutritionally adequate. They are generally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Additionally, plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide essential nutrients and antioxidants.
  3. Personal Choices: Many individuals opt for vegan or vegetarian diets due to ethical motivations, concerned about the treatment of animals or seeking to reduce their ecological footprint.


While it is challenging to determine the exact percentage of the UK population that follows a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, research indicates a notable increase in the adoption of plant-based diets. The combined factors of ethical concerns, environmental awareness, and health considerations have propelled the growth of veganism and vegetarianism in the UK. As more people embrace these dietary choices, it is expected that the food industry will continue to provide an expanding range of vegan and vegetarian options to meet the evolving needs and preferences of the population.