Rise in the number of vegans in Britain from 2006 -2 016; 542,000 people said they were vegans in 2016.
Veganuary 2018 participants, of which 60% were under 35, up from 3,300 on its 2014 launch.
Increase in vegan products launched in the UK between 2012 and 2016.
The year the term vegan was coined by woodwork educator Donald Watson. Repudiated terms include’ dairyban ‘,’ vitan’ and’ benevore’.
Percentage of under-3 5s who have tried a vegan diet.
Veganism might have recently acquired a hipster cache at buzzy London events such as Vegan Nights and the weekly Hackney Downs market established by influential blogger Sean O’Callaghan, AKA”
the Fat Gay Vegan“, but its surging popularity is a national phenomenon, with plant-based food festivals and businesses booming from Bristol to Inverness.
The high street is adapting with unbelievable speed. Big chains such as Marks& Spencer and Pret a Manger have introduced vegan scopes, Wagamama has a new vegan menu, Pizza Hut lately joined Pizza Express and Zizzi in offering vegan pizzas, while last year Guinness went vegan and stopped using fish bladders in its brewing process, after two and a half centuries. Scrolling through Twitter’s popular
#veganhour( an hour of online recipes and notions operating 7-8pm every Tuesday, and trending at number seven nationally when I looked ), alongside less surprising corporate interventions from Holland& Barrett and Heavenly Organics is a tweet from Toby Carvery, trumpeting its vegan cherry and chocolate torte. Sainsbury’s and Tesco have introduced extended new scopes of vegan products, while the latter recently appointed American chef Derek Sarno to the impressive task title of director of plant-based innovation.
If this is the year of mainstream veganism, as every trend forecaster and marketplace analyst seems to agree, then there is not one single cause, but a perfect plant-based storm of factors. People quote one or more of three key motives for going vegan- animal welfare, environmental concerns and personal health- and it is being accompanied by an endless array of new business startups, cookbooks, YouTube channels, trendy events and polemical documentaries. The traditional food industry is desperately trying to catch up with the prospering grassroots demand.” What do you mean, weak, limp and weedy? In 2017, the vegan category is robust, energetic, and flush with crowdfunding money ,”
ran an article headlined” Vegan Nation” in industry bible the , pointing to new plant-based burger company Vurger, which reached its PS150, 000 investment target in little more than 24 hours. Grocer in November
The rapid detonation of the
annual Veganuary campaign, in which curious omnivores and vegetarians sign up to try out veganism for a month and are then plied with recipes and other advice, shows how fast veganism is growing.( The selection of January is significant, given the resonances of fresh starts, good purposes and post-Christmas diets .) Veganuary was launched in 2014, with 3,300 people signing up; by 2016, there were 23,000 participants, then 59,500 in 2017, and a staggering 168,000 this year- and these are just the numbers that signed up officially online. Notably, 84% of this year’s registered participants were female, while 60% were aged under 35. Showbiz magazines and websites are full of lists of fully vegan celebrities- Ellie Goulding, Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Woody Harrelson, JME, Ellen DeGeneres, Liam Hemsworth; we could go on- all of them inducing Beyonce and Jay-Z appear a bit wet, having tried a vegan diet for merely 22 days.
A weekend outing to Blackpool in 2018 offers much of what it always did: seagulls, slot machine, big-screen sport, family meal bargains,” traditional fish and chips”, pirate rides, poncho vendors, palm-readers and pound stores. But there are other, newer diversions, too. On a grey Saturday morning in low season, at St Thomas’ church , north of the city centre, the
Blackpool Vegan and Green celebration is humming with people. Something of the church’s evangelical spirit is alive here, too.
” We’re in a non-vegan world ,” tells volunteer Elizabeth King, delivering her” 10 steps to going vegan” talk in a back-room.” But things are changing rapidly- and if you’re trying to go vegan, you’re a pioneer .” She talks about shopping challenges and getting around social stigma, meal-planning and vitamin supplements, how to stimulate vacations and dining out easier, how to check labels and online resources- and the group of new vegans and could-be-vegans asks keen the issues and shares local tips-off.” People have an assumption you live off lettuce, don’t they? But that’s changing .”
Watch an introduction to east London’s Vegan Nights food festival- video
With almond milk and vegan ranges now available in supermarkets, it’s a testament to rising public curiosity that people are being drawn to once specialist events in such numbers.” It’s jam-packed isn’t it !” says Michelle Makita, with a chuckle, from the Little Blue Hen vegan soap stall. Over the course of the day, hundreds of people stream in; visitors from across Blackpool, the north-west, even Spain. There is an African superfoods stand, a Glaswegian dork pie company, Turkish gozleme flatbreads, cakes, curries, wraps, sushi, vegan candles, vegan pet food, shlocky T-shirts and accessories (” Zombies eat flesh, go vegan “). Darting around in a high-vis coat, organiser Roddy Hanson squeezes past the prams, teens, bearded veterans in earth-tone baja tops , normies and newbies.
Grabbing some air and calm when the lunch rushed has finally subsided( at about 4pm ), Hanson is a mine of data concerning vegan history and cultural activities and has watched a tightly bound, activism-driven outsider community become an accepted phenomenon in a matter of a few years.” When I went vegan in the 1980 s, it was primarily two groups: hippies and punks. Some people who come to our events think it’s going to be wall-to-wall people with pink hair and pierces, but the whole culture has changed – it’s a very broad cross-section .”
He has been vegan for 30 years, a veteran of animal rights activism, but this convivial, family-day-out approach to winning converts is more his velocity.” I’ve never been the kind of person who wants to stand outside fur stores and get into debates with people. It’s more positive this style and you can choose to engage with it if you want, rather than be confrontational. I’ve been involved in anti-circus demos where opposes have broken out with some of the protesters and the circus staff; that kind of thing was a lot bigger in the 80 s. Now it’s based around vegan groups and fairs, which didn’t really exist then .”
Last summer, Paul White opened Faringo’s, the first vegan restaurant in Blackpool. Only a year ago, he was an omnivore, operating a hotel with an Italian steakhouse attached in which he was also head chef. One weekend, they had a vegan guest stay, which inspired” lots of lengthy conversations” about veganism and he decided to try running a small vegan menus alongside the existing one.” Within two weeks, we had more people feeing vegan food than anything else ,” he recalls.” What surprised us was people were coming from all over Blackpool. There were hidden vegans in Blackpool who were struggling in silence! That was June last year and at that point we decided to turn the restaurant 100% vegan and it just exploded on Facebook. I went vegan as well, as head cook, and I feel better for it. We have such a wide range of people coming in: we’ll have a table of six people who are protesters from an anti-fracking demo[
Preston New Road fracking site is merely three miles away ], sat next to a table of two people who are multimillionaires, sat next to international rugby players .”
There’s been a knock-on effect to their success, he tells, with numerous other eateries in the city beginning to offer vegan options on their menu- and White is preparing to open the first vegan food shop in Blackpool, too. One of the main drivers, he tells, is the critical mass of information available online, both motivating people to change in the first place and constructing it easier than ever to do so.” When people insure
documentaries like , one is enough. The fact social media is as big as it is now, it spreads things so much faster. I think that’s why it’s mushrooming right now. And it is mushrooming .” Cowspiracy
In May 2016, the Vegan Society commissioned Ipsos Mori to poll 10,000 people on their dietary habits and found that
Britain’s vegan population had increased from 150,000 to 542,000 in the space of a decade( alongside a vegetarian population of 1.14 million ). Of those, 63% were female and, significantly for veganism’s future growth, nearly half were in the 15 -3 4 age category. What is astounding is that the pace of change in the two years since the survey was carried out has been seemingly exponential- it seems plausible to speculate the number may have doubled again in that time.
He also points to a new non-violent breed of millennial activist, such as James Aspey, who took a
year’s vow of stillnes to increase awareness of animal rights issues.” Thirty years ago, it was more balaclavas and intimidation, almost verging on terrorist activities. This new breed are not playing up to that stereotype- they recognise the danger of it. There’s a real understanding and compassion among today’s activists. I’m a bit older and that wasn’t there in the revolutionary 70 s and 80 s, with the punk rock,’ fuck you’ kind of position – it’s now more reflective and therefore more effective .”
That less aggressive approach is winning a lot of new converts, but for veterans such as Barford it’s still an evangelical movement with an irreducible political message.” Our challenge with VegFest is to combine the feelgood factor, the fun and sociable atmosphere, with quite a strong moral and ethical standpoint. We want to attract people in without putting them off, but then once we’ve got them in, we don’t want them to walk away guessing this is just a health fad, merely food and shopping and amusement .”