63% of vegans and vegetarians adopted the lifestyle in the last five years
Top reasons why people quit meat include concerns over cruelty to animals and the environment
Seven in 10 vegans – and a third of vegetarians – say their health has improved because of their diet
As ‘Veganuary’ continues, new YouGov research among 1,000 vegans and vegetarians provides unique insights to these groups, asking, among other things, what motivated them to start, how they practice their beliefs, and what their experience has been like.
YouGov’s data reveals that Britain’s vegan and vegetarian population remains small. YouGov tracker data over the last two and a half years puts the size of the vegan population at about 2-3% and the vegetarian population at about 5-7%.
Our dedicated survey of vegans and vegetarians shows that most of Britain’s vegans are pretty new to the lifestyle, with 63% having started out only in the last five years. That being said, the overwhelming majority of Britain’s vegans (81%) graduated from vegetarianism, so many have been avoiding meat for much longer than this.
Unsurprisingly, the top reasons people originally became vegetarian or vegan are not wanting to eat animals or animal products (63% of vegetarians and 70% of vegans) and believing that the way animals are raised and killed for food is cruel (59% and 80% respectively).
Half of vegans (53%) and a third of vegetarians (32%) say their concerns for the planet were a prompt for originally going vegan. Health was also cited as a key reason by a quarter of vegans (27%) and one in eight vegetarians (13%) starting out on a meat-free diet for this reason.