Vegans avoid all animal and animal-derived products in their diets, eating various types of plant foods instead. Apart from veganism, there are a number of other types of vegetarian diets, including lacto, ovo, and lacto-ovo vegetarianism.
Veganism is one of the strictest vegetarian diets, and as the available vegan statistics abundantly show, even though it’s highly effective in reducing the risk of certain diseases and controlling weight, it has also been linked to nutrient deficiencies.
So let’s take a look at the most important veganism- and vegetarianism-related statistics and facts!
Top 10 Vegan Statistics and Facts
- The total number of vegans worldwide in 2021 amounts to about 79 million.
- About 9.7 million people follow a vegetarian-based diet in the US.
- Israel has the largest concentration of vegans in the world.
- Generally, a lot more females are vegans than males.
- Meat-eaters’ diets cause seven times more greenhouse emissions than vegan diets.
- The worldwide vegan food market was valued at $12.69 billion in 2018.
- Europe accounts for 39% of the sales of meat substitutes worldwide.
- Searches for the term “veganism” and vegan facts and information rose 580% in the last five years.
- By 2025, the vegan food market is expected to be worth $24.06 billion.
- Vegan women have a 34% lower rate of gender-specific cancers.
General Vegan Statistics and Facts
1. The total number of vegans worldwide in 2021 is about 79 million.
(WTVOX, Vegan Bits)
It is quite hard to judge exactly how many vegans there are in the world right now, but statistics claim that about between 1% and 0.1% of the entire world population embraces a vegan diet.
Some people tend to combine vegetarians and vegans into the same category even though they are different, and this also makes reporting exact statistics harder.
Furthermore, most developed countries claim to have about a 2% to 8% vegan population, which probably means that the global average is significantly below 1%.
2. The word “vegan” was created by Donald Watson in 1944.
You don’t have to be a vegan history facts buff to deduce that the word “vegan” was conceptualized by combining the first three and the last two letters of the word “vegetarian”.
In November 1944, Donald Watson and five other non-dairy vegetarians came together to start the first vegan movement, adding a new chapter to the history of veganism as we know it.
3. The World vegan month is celebrated every November.
This month is celebrated worldwide as a time to reflect on the successes of the vegan movement, how far it has come since its creation and what it has done to promote the accessibility and benefits of leading a vegan lifestyle.
The first of November is the World vegan day, when the benefits of veganism for people as individuals and for our environment are celebrated through different activities.
4. About 9.7 million people follow a vegetarian-based diet in the US.
If you were wondering how many vegetarians there were in the US in 2018, the year when one of the larger recent polls was conducted, reports state that, at the time, about 5% of the population of the United States followed a vegetarian diet.
This percentage is said to have gone up by a significant amount in the past few years, due to an increase in the popularity of vegetarianism in the country.
5. Only about 1 million people in the US have a purely vegan diet and lifestyle.
Trying to gauge just exactly how many people are vegan is a very tough task as we said earlier. However, some surveys show that about 0.5% of US residents lead a purely vegan lifestyle.
The vegan diet is most common among people aged 30 to 49, followed by those in the 18 to 29 age bracket, according to recent US vegan stats.
6. There are five different types of vegans.
Different groups are typically defined based on the types of vegan foods they consume, ranging from legumes to grains, fruit, and even processed food.
This includes dietary vegans (plant-based diets), low-fat vegans (fruits and no high-fat foods), junk-food vegans (heavily processed vegan food, like vegan meat and desserts), raw-food vegans, and whole-food vegans (diets rich in whole grains, nuts, and fruit).
7. Many people who choose to become vegetarian or vegan do so for ethical reasons.
For a lot of people, going vegetarian or vegan is a decision supported and motivated by the philosophy that animals should not be exploited or killed for food.
A look at just about any vegan fact sheet shows that, for most of these individuals who become vegan, the way to stop animal cruelty is to consciously avoid all types of animal products.
Vegan Demographics: Statistics and Facts
8. Israel has the largest concentration of vegans in the world.
The percentage of the population of Israel that are vegan is 5%. The USA only ranks fifth on this list, with the percentage of vegans in the US at about 1.5% (in 2014).
9. India is the country with the highest proportion of vegetarians in the world.
According to recent vegetarian statistics, 38% of India’s populace are vegetarian. Religious affiliations make vegetarianism a popular concept thanks to the fact that the prominent religions in the country, like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism preach abstaining from violence against all forms of life.
Out of those 38% responsible for making India one of the countries with the lowest meat consumption rates in the world, most are lacto-vegetarians, meaning that they do eat dairy products.
10. More vegans are at the lower end of the income range in the US.
Vegan demographics for the US report that, somewhat surprisingly, most vegans in the US are in the less than $50,000 annual income range. The average American earns close to $54,000 annually.
The contrast in income and veganism is probably linked to age, as most vegans are young adults who earn less than their elders, skewing the demographics of vegans towards the lower-income range.
11. Generally, a lot more females are vegans than males.
Women younger than 35 are the most numerous vegan demographic. Studies show that 67% of vegans generally are female, with up to 64% female vegans in the UK and up to 78% in the US.
Vegan fun facts also state that most female vegans are 25 to 34 years old—about 40%.
12. The average age for going vegan is 24.1 years.
78% of vegans adopted this lifestyle between the ages of 16 and 34, while 52% became vegan between 16 and 24. The most frequent specific ages are said to be 19, 20, and 21, with the mean age being 24.1.
Another vegan fact of note is that in the US, people typically go vegan at a younger age (average 22.4 years) than in the UK (average 24.9).
13. In the UK in 2019, 1.16% of the population were vegan.
The vegan community, based on the UK vegan statistics from 2016, stood at about 0.46% of the total UK population, which was an increase from 0.25% in 2014.
14. Almost a quarter of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 declare as vegans or vegetarians.
Millennial vegan statistics report that the highest percentage of vegans in America are the millennials of age 25 to 34, just slightly ahead of the baby boomers.
According to research, 2019 was seen as the year of the vegans, and there were significant advances in veganism among millennials.
Vegan Environmental Statistics and Facts
15. The amount of food-related greenhouse gases would drop by 70% if everyone became vegan.
(Veganism Impact Report, BBC Good Food)
By 2050, the total food-related emissions could drop significantly if everyone decided to adopt a vegan diet. This could save almost £440 billion ($608 billion) in economic value over these years.
Moreover, according to vegan environmental facts, if only 60% of the world population adopted a vegan diet, there would be a reduction of 42% in greenhouse gas emissions.
16. Meat-eaters’ diets are responsible for seven times the greenhouse emissions of vegan diets.
(Culinary Schools, BBC)
A single calorie of animal protein needs close to eleven times more fossil fuel to produce than a calorie of plant protein.
Vegan vs meat-eater statistics show that the Western world’s consumption of meat is propelling global warming, and greenhouse emissions attributed to livestock rearing are on the increase.
17. Beef, lamb, pork, and dairy cause the most damage to the environment in a meat-eater diet.
Research from the University of Oxford on the environmental impacts of food concluded that beef, in particular, was the part of meat-eaters’ diets that caused the most significant contribution to the world’s greenhouse emissions.
As shown by vegan vs meat-eater facts, even the sources of meat with the lowest greenhouse emissions produce a lot more of them than plant-based foods.
18. If everyone went vegan, global farmland use could be reduced by 75%.
This would not only result in lower greenhouse gas emissions but would also free up wildland given up for agriculture, limiting wildlife extinction on a massive scale.
Veganism facts and research show that an area that equals the extent of the US, Australia, the EU, and China combined could be freed from farmland usage worldwide.
19. A meat-eating diet needs over 4,000 gallons of water per day in its production, while a vegan diet only needs about 300 gallons of water per day on average.
(Culinary Schools, PETA)
Almost half of the water utilized in the US is diverted into raising animals to be eaten.
Interestingly, vegan nutrition facts also state that about 2,400 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of meat, while you only need 25 gallons for a pound of wheat.
Vegan Industry Statistics and Facts
20. In 2018, North America was the largest regional market for vegan food.
(Grand View Research)
The most significant regional share of the global vegan food market is held by North America with 31% of the total market, according to vegan food market statistics for 2018.
That being said, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to topple them by 2025, with a growth rate of 12.1% per year.
21. The plant-based food sector grew by 11% in 2019.
In the same year, the retail food market in the US grew by only 2%, showing how popular vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming.
22. Plant-based meat equaled 2% of all packaged meat options in 2019.
The plant-based meat industry was worth an estimated $800 million in 2019.
The increasing demand for new vegan food products meant sales were up by 10%, while the sales of animal-based meat grew only by 2% that year.
23. Europe accounts for 39% of the sales of meat substitutes worldwide.
Europeans seem to be after more environmentally friendly and healthier alternatives to meat. And indeed, most available vegetarian diet facts describe Europeans as having an increasing interest in plant-based alternatives.
On a global level, the meat substitutes market was expected to grow by 8.4% during the year 2020.
24. Meat-eaters spend more than £600 ($835) on meat every year in Britain.
New statistics on vegans and meat-eaters in Britain suggest that meat-free diets save vegan people about £645 annually ($900).
With all the alarming meat industry statistics, it’s no surprise that 41% of British people are on their way to reducing their consumption of meat. Also, about 13% are looking forward to going fully meat-free.
25. About 95% of people who bought plant-based burgers in 2019 were meat-eaters.
(Market Watch, Business Insider)
When comparing the cost of vegan diet vs meat, we see that the 100% plant-based burger ingredients sell at around $11 or $12 per pound, while meat-based ones sell at around $3 per pound. This price does not seem to deter vegans or even non-vegans, with a recorded 10% increase in vegan burger interest.
About 18% of the adult population are trying to add more plant-based food to their diet, and about 60% of US adults want more dietary protein, according to vegan diet facts from 2019.
26. The global vegan cheese market had a growth rate of about 7.7% in 2019.
The vegan cheese market is expected to reach $1.58 billion by 2023 in Europe.
Vegan health facts indicate that this growth is due to the incidence of lactose intolerance, which has opened up a lot of potential in places like the Asia-Pacific Region, which has a very high proportion of lactose-intolerant individuals.
27. Plant-based alternatives are generally cheaper than meat.
Vegan diets cost less on average than meat diets, especially for those with easily accessible plant-based ingredients.
However, trying to recreate your previous diet as a new vegan might be a little unhealthy and more expensive than would be ideal. This might actually increase the cost of being vegan for those who just rush in without doing the proper research beforehand.
28. Switching from vegetarian to pure vegan might come with extra expenses.
Vegetarians adopting a new diet and trying to go strictly vegan might spend more on their shopping and increase the cost of eating vegan.
This is usually due to cutting out meat and its extremely significant expense already as a vegetarian. Also, substituting their dairy with vegan equivalents could come with added costs, increasing the total expenditure.
29. The foods vegans choose to eat determine the cost of their diet.
If you are wondering how much does vegan food cost, it all depends on how exactly you want to make your vegan meals and the ingredients you would use.
Preparing your meals from scratch, instead of microwaving ready-made meals could also save you a substantial amount of money.
30. Vegan items cost more at supermarkets than non-vegan items.
Most supermarkets seem to place a premium on vegan items, increasing the costs of being a vegan. For instance, the Waitrose supermarket’s vegan basket costs double the regular basket.
Using a lot of supermarket ready-made vegan items (natural alternatives to animal-derived products), however, is an expensive way to be a vegan, and would drastically increase the average cost of a vegan diet.
31. Vegans could pay about 65% more on average for a meal when eating out compared to those with no dietary specifications.
Exotic vegan diets tend to be more expensive than the average meal at vegan chain restaurants.
The factors that lead to this include the different methods of preparation and costs of logistics, even though plant-based ingredients are generally cheaper than meat.
32. The beauty products sector is the leading category in the vegan fashion industry.
At the end of January 2020, the vegan beauty products sector made up 69% of online sales of vegan products in the UK, according to vegan statistics for 2020.
Other fast-growing sectors include vegan footwear and accessories, in a search for alternatives to suede and leather that are animal-free.
33. Luxury and designer fashion brands are incorporating veganism into their fashion wear.
Big fashion brands have decided to also get in on the vegan trend in 2020. There has been a 36% decline in women’s fur arrivals in the US in the initial three months of 2020.
However, it might be slightly more expensive to dress ethically and stylish, and that could also add to the numbers when it comes to the cost of being vegan in 2021.
Vegan Trend Statistics and Facts
34. Internet searches for the term “veganism” have increased by 580% over the last five years.
Over the last five years, there has been an almost six-fold increase in the rates at which people want to learn about the concept of veganism.
Veganism at the end of 2019 received much more interest than the term “vegetarian” in search engine searches, vegetarian statistics report.
35. Italy had the fastest-growing vegan population between 2011 and 2016.
The vegan scene in Italy saw a growth of about 94.4% in five years. The population of vegetarians in Italy also doubled, as illustrated by recent vegetarian stats, in the past five years.
This proves that even if vegetarian diets started as a trend, they have become a lifestyle and a way of life for a lot of people in Italy.
36. In 2019, the United Kingdom was the most interested country in the term “veganism”.
(WTVOX, Vegan Society)
Google Trends indicates that the people of the UK were the most interested in the concept of veganism in 2019, followed by Australia, then New Zealand.
The demand for food with no meat content in the UK was one of the vegan trends that increased massively, rising by 987% in 2017.
37. By 2025, the vegan food market is expected to register an annual growth rate of 9.6%.
(Grand View Research)
Vegan facts and statistics indicate that the vegan food market was worth $12.69 billion in 2018, and is expected to move at a growth rate of 9.6% from the year 2019 to 2025.
The turning of a lot of famous people to a vegan diet and an increase in the vegan population that made a lot of people see the benefits of a vegan lifestyle are expected to be the drivers for this market’s development, according to vegan trend statistics.
38. Sales of vegan dairy products are rising yearly, while those of non-vegan dairy are declining or stagnant.
The sales of plant-based milk, which increased by 6% in 2018, made up 13% of the total milk sales in the United States. In contrast, cow milk sales dropped by 3% in the same period.
While sales of vegan yogurt and ice cream rose by 39% and 27% respectively, vegan food trends show that the sales of their regular dairy equivalents are stagnant or declining.
39. The global dairy alternatives market is currently worth about $11.9 billion.
(Market Data Forecast)
The market is expected to register a CAGR of 16.7% by 2025. Statistics of vegans who are lactose intolerant support these projections, and it is expected that this increases once areas with high proportions of lactose-intolerant people adopt vegan lifestyles.
40. The vegan meat market is expected to hit $8.1 billion by 2026.
(Allied Market Research)
Approximately 30% of Americans are choosing plant-based meat derivatives over actual meat. According to vegan smart nutritional facts, this is contributing to the growth of the meat substitutes market globally, which is expected to record a growth rate of 7.8% from 2019 to 2026.
Vegan Health Benefits Statistics and Facts
41. Eating vegan is linked to a 35% reduced risk of prostate cancer.
(Vegan Society, BioMed Central)
Studies have shown that vegan cancer rates are drastically lower than those recorded in the non-vegan population. The studies focused on the type of diets and not individual food items, since food is usually eaten in different combinations.
Avoiding animal proteins reduces the levels of some cancer growth factors, as demonstrated by various vegan health statistics; and eating more fruit increases levels of antioxidants, which hinder the progression of prostate cancer.
42. Vegans have a lower occurrence of high blood pressure.
(Vegan Society, Research Gate)
Vegans have lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than meat-eaters, due to their differences in body mass index.
Vegan facts attribute this to a lower incidence of hypertension and high blood pressure in the vegan population.
43. Vegan diets tend to be low in cholesterol and fat with high fiber content.
While vegan diets are typically rich in a number of required nutrients and low in fat, there are some health-related cons of being vegan, such as nutritional deficiencies in micronutrients.
Vegans are at a higher risk of vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin D and B12, the latter being able to cause irreversible neurological effects. This doesn’t in any way mean veganism is not healthy, though, as long as you keep track of which nutrients you might be lacking and learn how to get them from supplements or other sources.
44. Vegan women have a 34% lower rate of gender-specific cancers.
There are generally more vegan women than men, and apparently, the vegan cancer rate in women is significantly lower.
Female-specific cancers like cervical, ovarian, and breast cancer had lower rates amongst vegan women compared to a group of healthy omnivores with controlled non-dietary factors like smoking and family history.
45. Weight can either be gained or lost after getting on a vegan diet.
The weight difference of people who go vegan before and after one month can be quite pronounced. The usual sequence when on a vegan diet is weight loss and stability.
However, if you just use vegan junk food or an extreme amount of carbohydrates to replace meat and dairy, you could end up gaining weight.
46. Vegans generally have 15% lower mortality than meat-eaters.
Vegans have a lower probability of getting many diseases, meaning that their longevity is above average. The mortality rate of vegans vs meat-eaters is much lower, due to them eating healthier plant-based foods.
What percentage of the world is vegan?
Currently, 14% of the total world population identifies as either vegan, vegetarian, or any other related category.
It is a tough task to calculate the precise number of vegans in the global population because of the blurry differentiation between vegans, vegetarians, and people on plant-based diets, but it is currently estimated that between 0.1% and 1% of the entire world fits into one of these categories.
How long on average do vegans live?
Vegans are generally less likely to die at a younger age than non-vegans. They have a lower risk of a lot of diseases due to the constituents of their diet, and a generally lower mortality rate than meat-eaters.
Research shows that, on average, vegetarian men live 9.5 years longer than those who eat meat, while vegetarian women live 6.1 years longer than their non-vegetarian peers.
Is veganism on the rise in 2020?
2020 has been a year where the interest in veganism has peaked, and data from Google shows veganism got more attention in 2020 than it had in the previous years.
The data also claims that veganism is two times as popular now as it was in 2015 and that its popularity will keep growing. The United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel are the top three countries where veganism was most popular in 2020.
What is the most vegan country?
Israel is said to be the most vegan country. They have the highest percentage of vegans on a global level, with 400,000 people making up 5% to 8% of the total population of the country.
Veganism is also very popular in India because of the local cultural and religious beliefs and backgrounds. India also has a very high proportion of vegetarians (close to 40%).
Do vegans age better?
Vegans subsist on plant-based diets which are a backbone of healthy aging. This significantly reduces the probability of heart-related issues, including heart attacks, or metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
These diets score very high on the Healthy Eating Index and have even been associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Do vegans get cancer?
Studies and research show that the probability of getting cancer is significantly reduced in people on a plant-based diet. A 15-year study from Oxford University came to the conclusion that the overall cancer incidence was 11% lower in vegetarians, and 19% lower in vegans compared to people who eat meat.
Vegans and the concept of veganism keep on getting more popular. With the booming food industry and outspoken people who are raising awareness about their beliefs and diet choices, veganism is set to receive massive recognition in the coming years.
The exact number of vegans cannot be precisely determined, but the rate at which their numbers have grown over the past few years shows that veganism is here to stay.
Hopefully, the vegan statistics we presented in this post have helped you find out something new about the popularity of veganism, its adoption rates across the world, and its tremendous potential that promises impressive growth in the years to come.
- Allied Market Research
- BBC Good Food
- BioMed Central
- Business Insider
- Culinary Schools
- Fashion United
- Food Navigator
- Grand View Research
- Market Data Forecast
- Market Watch
- Nerd Wallet
- Plantbased News
- Research Gate
- The Boar
- Vegan Bits
- Vegan Society
- Vegan Society
- Veganism Impact Report
- World Atlas