With an increasing number of restaurants incorporating plant-based foods into their menu and brands offering vegan leather products, there seems to be an explosion of interest in plant-based lifestyles lately. But exactly how many people are vegan or vegetarian in the world?
It’s almost impossible to establish the exact number of vegans and vegetarians, but the Guardian estimates that there are about 79 million vegans in the world. The number of vegetarians is estimated to be 1.5 billion globally.
How Many People are Vegan or Vegetarian in the US?
In the US, about 2% of people consider themselves vegan, and an additional 5% are vegetarian.
Since there is no surefire way to determine the exact number of plant-eaters, there have been varying estimates about people following a vegan or vegetarian diet or lifestyle in the US.
Estimations vary from 2% to 8% for both vegans and vegetarians in the US. However, one small survey reveals that about 1 in 10 or 10% of Americans over the age of 18 follow a plant-based diet.
Whichever of these figures are true, following a plant-based diet or lifestyle is a huge commitment that requires determination and dedication.
And while most people still eat (some) meat, there has been an increasing interest in plant-based diets for the past several years. Many also report reducing animal products in their diets to a bare minimum.
Why Do People Become Vegan or Vegetarian?
There are multiple reasons for people to transition to a plant-based diet or lifestyle, ranging from health and nutrition to ethical and environmental to religious and cultural.
Plant-based diets are linked to reduced blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, and better weight management. They are also beneficial for the environment as they contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem destruction, and energy consumption.
Above all, committing to a vegan or vegetarian diet helps reduce animal suffering. Billions of animals are killed every year to provide meat to humans, and countless others are subjected to cruel practices in commercial egg and dairy industries.
Wondering how going vegan can help reduce animal suffering? Check out this shortened version of James Wildman’s hour-long video titled 101 Reasons to Go Vegan to get a better insight into the ethical aspect of veganism.
No matter what your reason for switching to a plant-based diet is, it’s good to know that the impact you’re making is multi-faceted and far-ranging.
Which Country Has the Highest Number of Vegans and Vegetarians?
India has the largest number of people following plant-based diets in the world. According to a survey conducted by Statista in 2021, about 24% of Indians are vegetarians, whereas around 10% reported following a vegan diet.
However, a Pew Research Center survey reported the percentage of vegetarians in India to be 35%. All in all, about 81% of Indians follow certain restrictions on meat consumption.
India also has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world.
However, it’s important to note that religious beliefs are the main reason behind the widespread adoption of plant-based diets in India.
How to Switch to a Plant-Based Diet?
Have you been thinking of eliminating meat or all animal products from your diet but struggling to make the transition?
Here are some simple and useful tips for you to make the switch a little easier:
1. Start Small
Don’t dive right into it; transition slowly to a plant-based diet. Start off with one plant-based meal per week and then gradually move on to avoiding animal products one day per week, and so on. You want to build a habit of eating (more) plant-based foods before completely eliminating animal products from your diet.
Ease into your new lifestyle instead of jumping in head first.
2. Find Plant-Based Alternatives to Animal Products
The diet of an average person includes a lot of animal products, and it can be difficult for many to give up on all of them. A great way to deal with it is to find plant-based alternatives to your everyday use products.
From plant-based meats to dairy-free milk, yogurt, and cheese to vegetarian/vegan snacks, there are plenty of plant-based food choices available on the market.
3. Plan Ahead
Planning and prepping for meals often feel challenging when you’re following a new diet. Save yourself from experiencing that trouble every day by planning and prepping for your meals and snacks for the week on the weekend. This will significantly reduce (if not eliminate) your chances of getting off track.
The Sum Up
Although we do not have an exact measure of how many people are vegan or vegetarian, it’s clear that the vegan and vegetarian population is growing not just in the US but globally. The rapid growth of the vegan food market is a testimony to it.
The global vegan food market was valued at $14.44 billion in 2020. Within just one year, i.e., by 2021, it had grown to $15.77 billion due to an increasing number of people transitioning to plant-based diets.
The trend is likely to continue in the future, which depicts that people are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their dietary choices on their health, animals, and the environment.
Feeling pumped to join the millions of plant-based eaters and make a positive difference in your health and the world? Check out my article Best Vegan YouTubers to know who you should follow to stay motivated on this new journey.