The Vegetarian And Vegan Tide Rises In 2018 – But Why?

2018 has already witnessed more people turning over to vegetarian and vegan friendly diets than ever before. Despite the end of Veganuary, this surge is looking to continue, as many British supermarkets report that sales of vegetarian and vegan foods are increasing exponentially.

According to the Vegan Society, the number of people adopting a vegan lifestyle has quadrupled in the last 10 years, and it seems 2018 will see a further rise.

What’s contributed to this increase in vegetarian and vegan eaters? We take a look at some of the factors influencing this growing change…


Veganuary vibe  

The annual trend Veganuary (going vegan for January) was huge this year, hitting the headlines more than ever before. It was predicted that a record breaking 150,000+ people had signed up to the event in 2018.

This sudden swell of vegans in the UK is being attributed to the success of the recent Veganuary – with the campaign, now in its fifth year, allowing people to take a practice run at the strict diet plan – then boosting the number of people choosing to follow the lifestyle full-time.

Many people have taken part based on animal welfare and environmental concerns, essentially the main ethos of becoming a vegan. There are often videos shared by pro-vegan groups, which depict the damage being done by industrial farming methods, both to the planet and to the animals.

A huge international advertising campaign has been launched on transport networks in major cities, like Manchester and London – showcasing the three main influences that people chose to take part in Veganuary – caring for the planet, health concerns, and animal cruelty.


Accessibility advancing growth

Whilst Veganuary has certainly helped in driving forward interest in the vegan and vegetarian way of life – another big contributing factor is the widespread accessibility for the diet, that’s developing in cities across the world. From supermarkets to restaurant menus, outlets in every major city are constantly making it easier to find vegan and vegetarian food options.  

Huge supermarket brands and retailers are looking to take advantage of the growing appetite for the meat-free diet. Stores like Tesco are looking to cater for these dietary preferences with a brand new product range, dedicated to it. The fast food chain McDonalds has even managed to launch a meat-free burger in Finland recently, with plans to take it to the rest of Europe.

The effects of these changing dietary habits has also seen Quorn Foods, the meat substitute company, make a global sales increase of up to 16% in 2017.

According to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, over a quarter of household evening meals in the UK are now vegan or vegetarian friendly, containing no meat or fish. And compared to last year, sales of vegetables are up, and 1 in 10 consumers bought a meat-free ready meal in January alone.


Influencing endorsements

Many are linking the rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets, to their growing acceptance amongst major celebrities.

From Lewis Hamilton to Ariana Grande, many big names have chosen to switch to a meat-free diet. Some researchers suggest that the rise in the meat-free diet is driven by young people who are influenced by these celebrities, particularly on social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter.

The number of social media posts containing the hashtag veganlife, has seen a reported increase of 85% over the last couple of years. With many brightly coloured fruit and veg dishes appearing on posts, attracting followers and encouraging them to try food options they wouldn’t normally consider.


A social shift towards the healthy

Thanks to recent research linking meat heavy, processed food diets to poor health and the risk of disease, many people are turning to alternative options for the health benefits as well.   

Although switching to a total meat and fish free diet can make it difficult to get some essential minerals and vitamins, like B12 – the promise of faster weight loss, along with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, all through a nutrient rich, vegan or vegetarian diet can sound very appealing.

There has been lots of research suggesting that too much meat consumption could lead to cases of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. These sorts of health findings have no doubt contributed to the large switch in dietary preferences.  

Any talk of abandoning other diets that cater to meat and fish is definitely premature, with fresh meat and poultry achieving strong sales last year. But the vegan, vegetarian change is definitely happening – and all these factors are further enforcing the idea that it isn’t just the current trend, it’s very much set to carry on trending indefinitely.

At Prep, we aim to fully cater to any and all healthy dietary preferences, with our Gourmet Menu, Meal Plans or our Mixed Maintenance Meal Plan – we want to ensure you have easy access to a rich and varied food menu, made up of the freshest ingredients.