Going vegan: all the stats, facts, and data you’ll ever need to know

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We can talk all day long about the pros and cons of going vegan but sometimes, all you need are a few punchy facts and figures to drive a message home.

I love a good eulogising moment packed with heartfelt emotion and emphatic passion, but when it comes to giving people the information they need to finally make the leap to a vegan lifestyle, few things are as hard-hitting as stats and facts.

When you’re on the fence and you know it might be a good move, having those final bits of data to hand can make the difference between a compassionate life or mainstream compliance. So, with that in mind, let’s enjoy a few pertinent stats, facts and figures that could be the final push for any vegan-curious people out there.

The statsvegan statistics

  • 55% of people surveyed in 2019 said they turned vegan or vegetarian because of animal welfare concerns.
  • The United States reported a staggering 600% increase in people identifying as vegan, in 2020.
  • Sainsbury’s predicts that 25% of the UK population will claim to be vegetarian or vegan by 2025.
  • 75% of all agricultural land is employed for the rearing of animals, leading to huge environmental consequences.
  • 70% of the world’s freshwater consumption is attributed to livestock production.
  • One in nine people are starving, but one-third of the total cereal production in the world is used for animal farming.
  • More than 70 billion animals are farmed for consumption every year. And that’s not including the enormous number of fish either.
  • If the world went vegan now, 8 million lives would be saved by 2050 and greenhouse emissions would reduce by two-thirds.

Quench your thirst for more surprising stats about the vegan lifestyle.

The factsvegan facts

  • Turning vegan cuts 100% of bad cholesterol from your diet, allowing you to embrace a more heart-healthy lifestyle. Even plant-based meat alternatives have no bad cholesterol in them, so even though they taste comparable, they are better for you.
  • A vegan lifestyle significantly reduces your likelihood of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also far less likely, especially if a predominantly whole foods approach is taken.
  • As a dietary group, we ingest the least fat and the most fibre, meaning that our digestive efficiency and health is up there with the best of them.
  • You can get an estimate of how many animals you’ve saved since going vegan, if you already are, or how many you have the power to save, by using the Veganalyser. That number really drives the importance home.
  • If the world’s grain and cereal resources were redirected as food for humans, not fodder for farmed animals ahead of slaughter, world hunger could be eradicated.
  • Protein deficiency is not a known consequence of veganism, despite the numerous jokes and claims to the contrary. In fact, a balanced plant-based diet will give access to “cleaner” protein sources that support digestive health, while also supporting muscle fibre.
  • Upon reaching level-five vegan status, The Vegan Society activates your superpowers, including flight. (We’re kidding. Just checking you’re paying attention here, guys!)

The data

vegan dataData is hard to qualify, just as stats are. This is because a lot of the figures arising come from surveys and consumer trends, which don’t always give a clear or honest insight. Given how popular veganism is becoming, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that people claim the label but don’t subscribe to the lifestyle genuinely. And flexitarians skew collected data as well.

Another issue is that vegans and vegetarians are often polled together as a dietary group, despite being very different. It’s easy to assume that the two are interchangeable lifestyles but in reality, there are very different ethical underpinnings and dietary exclusions at play. This means that the data harvested could be unrepresentative.

Given the increase in popular products, it is a reasonable assumption that veganism is on the rise, with subscriber numbers growing year on year. As large brands venture into plant-based versions of longstanding products as well, this can be taken as a key indicator of the demand for conscious food alternatives and a widespread adoption of veganism, at least in the dietary sense.

It’s essentially impossible to boil an ethical lifestyle down to cold, hard facts and figures, so at best, statistics are only ever conservative estimates. This being said, the environmental calculations can be taken at face value and demonstrate the clear advantages that reduced meat consumption will offer the planet as a whole.

If you’re looking for that final reason to try veganism, perhaps making a positive and quantifiable impact on climate change could be that final motivating factor.

The sources we used for this story are Viva, The Vegan Society and Future Kind.

Amy Buxton
Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.