How many people around the world are vegans and how many vegetarians? This is a challenging question since there is no global official data on vegan demographics. Yet, there are plenty of local surveys, polls, estimations, and data related to consumer habits and market trends. All the available information can give us a clue of where this movement is heading to.
A few years ago, there was an estimated number of 8 percent of vegetarians throughout the world and less than 1 percent vegans. 2019 was declared by The Economist “The year of the vegan”. Moreover, there has been a substantial increase in the consumption of vegan products and meat and dairy substitutes. The medical community and the general public are embracing plant-based diets and the popularity is increasing. Some sources mention a 14 percent of the world population to be vegetarian, vegan, and other animal-free categories in 2020. Maybe 14 percent is a bit optimistic but we cannot argue that veganism is taking over. And who knows, maybe upcoming surveys will confirm this number.
A survey conducted by Ipsos Mori in 2018 shows that 3 percent of the world population is vegan, 5 percent of the people are vegetarian and another 14 percent flexitarian.
India is the country with the highest number of vegans (19 percent) and vegetarians (22 percent) while Serbia, Hungary, and Russia seem to be the countries with the highest number of omnivorous diet adherents.
According to Harris Poll conducted in 2019 within the US on behalf of The Vegetarian Resource Group, 4 percent of the Americans are vegetarians, from which 2 percent are vegans. In 2020, 5 percent of the consumers in the USA stated to be vegan, other 4 percent in Europe and 13 percent in Asia. Quite impressive, isn’t it? (Source New-Nutrition)
In Brazil, 14 percent of the population declares vegetarian, according to a survey by IBOPE Inteligencia conducted in April 2018. A survey showed that 12 percent of the population of Argentina is vegan or vegetarian. These results show a 3 percent increase compared to 2019. The survey was conducted in July 2020 at the request of UVA (Union Vegana Argentina) by Insights Kantar.
As per the Vegan Society data, the number of vegans in the UK had a 400 percent growth between 2014 and 2019. In 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation and one in 5 brits would consider going vegan.
According to the Austrian survey conducted by the institutes Meinungsraum and Triconsult in 2018, 10 percent of the population of Austria are vegan or vegetarian. Herbert Kling, Managing Director of meinungsraum.at: “You could almost speak of a boom in veganism or vegetarianism; 13 years ago it was just 3 percent of the local population who ate a meatless diet. ” The study showed the respondents are not only giving up meat but would also pay more for sustainable products.
In Sweden – one in ten is vegan or vegetarian. In the poll conducted by Demoskop, 6 percent of respondents said they were vegetarians, while 4 percent said they were vegans. The highest prevalence was seen among people 15-34 years of age, with 17 percent describing themselves as vegetarian or vegan.
The cruelty-free market is growing exponentially in Germany. According to a report published in January 2020, German food culture is turning more and more vegan. In 2017-2018, 15 percent of worldwide new vegan food and drink product launches occurred in Germany. According to a study from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 63 percent of Germans are trying to reduce their meat consumption.
Recent research in Italy shows that 9 percent of the population are vegans or vegetarians out of which 2.2 percent are vegan. Italy had the fastest-growing meat-free population over 2011-2016 (94 percent).
Israel has 13 percent vegetarians and Turkey has an increasing number of vegan adherents too. The Global Consumer Trends Report conducted by Euromonitor, ranked Turkey seventh among countries with the fastest-growing vegetarian populations for 2016 and 2017. Quite sadly, in Greece, the country of olive oil, pulses, high-quality fruits and vegetables, there are less than 1 percent vegans.
Australia is another country with only 1 percent of the population to identify themselves as vegan, according to the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey. The good news is that Australia has been the third-fastest growing vegan market, behind China and the United Arab Emirates, between 2015-2020.
There are around 2.3 million vegetarians and 850,000 vegans in Canada, quite a small number for such a country. The good news is that in 2020, almost 40 percent of Canadian consumers in a survey stated that they were willing to reduce their meat consumption, whilst around 9 percent were fully intending on doing so.
Another research shared by Statista conducted in 2018 showed that 1 percent of the Europeans follow a vegan diet. In countries like the Netherlands or the UK, 2 percent of the survey participants stated to be vegan.
All in all, the surveys show a vegan population from 1 to 4 percent and vegetarians from 3 to 9 percent and growing. Over the last 3-4 years, the increase in the number of followers of vegan and vegetarian diets has been outstanding. We believe that it will continue.
The number of vegans and vegetarians is increasing and that is a fact, but so does meat consumption. So what does this tell us? The solution that we need is not necessarily to convert all the people to veganism or vegetarianism. The main purpose is to decrease meat consumption.
Imagine how this world would look like if each individual on this planet decreased the quantity of meat he/she consumes by half. This is not that difficult: instead of 21 meals per week that contain animal products, consume 10 and try 11 meals with meat and dairy substitutes, pulses, beans, and more veggies, etc. Or if you eat animal products once a day, try it once in two days and so on. How many lives could be saved? What a huge effect it would have on the health of our mother nature itself!
We can make a change if we do it together. Go vegan! Give it a try. Do it part-time, but do it!