No meat please, we’re British: now a third of us approve of vegan diet – The Guardian
When the term “vegan” was first coined, even vegetarians believed it was a fringe lifestyle. But the image of vegans as eccentric ascetics is now itself a marginal view.
More than a third of people in the UK are interested in becoming vegan, according to a new poll which indicates that the number of people eating a plant-based diet has soared in the last two years. Thirty-six per cent of UK adults believe eating a vegan or plant-based diet is “an admirable thing to do”, the YouGov survey found.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Veganuary organisation, which encourages people to try veganism in January, asked 2,079 adults about their attitudes towards giving up animal products.
YouGov found that 8% of respondents said they were already eating a plant-based diet. Previous estimates of the proportion of vegans in the UK have put the number much lower – in 2019, the Vegan Society estimated that 600,000 adults, or just over 1% of the population, were vegan. Market research group Kantar said last year that 1.9% of households include at least one vegan.
Veganuary is being promoted with a cinema advertising campaign featuring Succession’s James Cromwell, which began today in about 500 cinemas across the country.
The Veganuary organisation’s Toni Vernelli said: “As more people become aware of the incredible impact our food choices have on our day-to-day wellbeing and the health of our planet, attitudes towards eating vegan are changing. It is incredibly exciting to see one-third of Brits now interested in trying a vegan or plant-based diet, something that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.”
Veganism was born in 1944 when some members of the British Vegetarian Society asked for space in the group’s newsletter for people who also avoided eggs and dairy products.
James Cromwell of Succession fame is the face of a cinema ad for Veganuary 2022. Photograph: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock
When the request was rejected, Donald Watson invented the term vegan and created a new quarterly publication with about 100 supporters, including George Bernard Shaw. It grew slowly. By 2014, the Vegan Society was pleased to say that as many as 150,000 people were vegans.
That was the starting point of what advocates refer to as “the second wave of veganism”. Now every supermarket devotes space to its own plant-based ranges, vegan materials are entering mainstream fashion, and dozens of celebrities espouse veganism. Cadbury has followed …….