Get an overview of vegan statistics from around the world. See why so many people are going vegan — from athletes to celebrities to everyday people. The rise of plant-based diets is here to stay.
Diets that limit or exclude meat, dairy products, and eggs used to be on the fringe and were seen as fads. Identifying as vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based was often viewed as weird or extreme — more the domain of hippies and activists than of large numbers of everyday people.
Until recently, references to vegan eating in the mainstream media were often negative. And meat-free food options weren’t universally available or appetizing. But now, all that is changing.
Much of the world is trending towards plant-based eating — and this global shift could be here to stay.
Millennials are central drivers of this worldwide shift away from consuming animal products. But the plant-based movement is bigger than any one generation. Everyone from celebrities to athletes to entire companies including Google and countries as big as China are supporting the movement to eat more plant-based foods.
Plant-based eating may not be entirely mainstream yet. But it’s becoming more accepted every day. And this trend is having far-reaching impacts.
Vegan Statistics: Incredible Signs the Global Demand for Plant-Based Foods Is Rising
First of all, according to a forecast report by restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whiteman in New York, “plant-based” will be the food trend of 2018. The report also anticipates that plant-based foods will become the new organic.
In addition, Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, predicts that plant-based foods will continue to grow and … this trend is “here to stay.”
Another company, international delivery service Just Eat named veganism as a top consumer trend in 2018 — due to a 94% increase in “healthy food ordered.”
And similarly, according to data released by GrubHub, the top takeaway marketplace in the U.S., orders for plant-based food have reached a new high. In particular, users chose vegan food 19% more in the first half of 2017 than in the first half of 2016.
Here’s more compelling proof to prove the global demand for plant-based foods is increasing:
- Search data from Google Trends shows an impressive worldwide increase in the interest in veganism from 2004 to 2018. Top regions include Israel, Australia, Canada, Austria, and New Zealand.
- There’s been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years. According to a report by research firm GlobalData, only 1% of U.S. consumers claimed to be vegan in 2014. And in 2017, that number rose to 6%.
- In the UK, the number of people identifying as vegans has increased by 350%, compared to a decade ago, according to research commissioned by the Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life magazine.
- Veganism was a top search trend in Canada in 2017. And the preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017 by the Canadian government, favors plant-based foods.
- In Portugal, vegetarianism rose by 400% in the last decade. This is according to research carried out by Nielsen.
- Plant-based diets are growing across Asia. New dietary guidelines released by the Chinese government encourage the nation’s 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. Research predicts that China’s vegan market will grow more than 17% between 2015 and 2020. And in Hong Kong, 22% of the population reports practicing some form of a plant-based diet.
- In Australia, between 2014 and 2016, the number of food products launched carrying a vegan claim rose by 92%.
- Mainstream health organizations are recommending a plant-based diet. Including, among others: Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare organization in the U.S.; the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee; and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
- Even Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is asking its suppliers to offer more plant-based products.
Plant-Strong Athletes Across Many Sports Are Busting Myths and Achieving Unbelievable Results
Across many sports, professional athletes are proving that a plant-based diet can fuel excellence. Athletes in everything from weightlifting and bodybuilding to ultramarathon running and tennis are being vocal about their love of plant-based eating.
Specifically, some names of plant-powered athletes include:
- Kendrick Farris, a male weightlifter who competed in the Rio Olympics
- Tennis star Venus Williams
- Patrik Baboumian, an Armenian-German strongman and former bodybuilder
- Heather Mills, a skier and amputee, who holds multiple world records and gold medals
In a new documentary, “From The Ground Up,” ultra athlete Rich Roll shows how top athletes are powering their stellar performances with plants. You can watch the trailer below:
Plant-Based Eating Is Helping NFL Football Players Perform At Their Best
Tom Brady, arguably the greatest football quarterback of all time, eats mostly plants. The 40-year-old, 5-time (and counting) Super Bowl champion eats organic food — 80% vegetables and whole grains and 20% lean meats, such as wild salmon.
“The thing is he said he’s been feeling so much better,” Gisele Bündchen says on husband Tom Brady starting a plant-based diet
According to him:
“Eating meals like these is what has helped me stay at the top of my game.”
Furthermore, Tom is so passionate about plant-based eating he launched Purple Carrot, a home delivery service offering nutritious, plant-based meal kits.
Many Players on the Tennessee Titans Team Are Going Vegan
At least 11 players for the Tennessee Titans football team (fresh off their first playoff victory in 15 years) are following a primarily plant-based diet.
“Everybody is making plays. Everybody is healthy. Everybody is eating right,” outside linebacker Brian Orakpo told ESPN.
Likewise, defensive end Jurrell Casey talked to ESPN about his plant-based diet: “I saw how fluid my body was moving around; my body wasn’t aching anymore. I knew it was the right decision. My body heals 10 times faster.”
NBA Players Are Feeling Great and Performing Incredibly on Plant-Based Diets
More and more, NBA players are going plant-based to boost their stamina and endurance.
Boston Celtics superstar and 2018 MVP candidate Kyrie Irving announced in 2017 that he went plant-based over the offseason in an attempt to improve his playing. He told ESPN’s Chauncey Billups:
“Been on more of a plant-based diet, getting away from the animals … my energy is up; my body feels amazing.”
Irving’s performance, as described by Bleacher Report, really is incredible. He has boundless energy, speed, and endurance. And in late-game situations, his numbers are “unfathomable.”
Irving even credited his skills to a “plant-based diet” in a new Nike advertisement:
Other NBA athletes who switched to a plant-based diet in the past year include Damian Lillard, Wilson Chandler, Al Jefferson, Garrett Temple, Enes Kanter, JaVale McGee, and Jahlil Okafor.
Wilson Chandler, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, has been particularly vocal about giving up meat, poultry, fish, and dairy, commenting:
“Eating a vegan diet has changed my everyday living. I sleep better, I wake up in a better mood, I recover faster, I’m not so inflamed, not so achey. I feel better overall, in everything that I do. I can take in more information easier. My mind is just open.”
The Number of Plant-Based Celebrities Continues to Grow
Giving up meat and animal products is also a trend for a growing number of celebrities.
A long list of celebrities across the globe are living (or at least trying) the plant-based life. As an illustration, some of the many well-known names giving up animal products include Natalie Portman, Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Moby, Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore.
Celebrities who went plant-based in 2017 include, among others:
- Millennial megastar Ariana Grande, who went vegan after seeing the documentary “Forks Over Knives.” She said:
“I am a firm believer in eating a full plant-based, whole food diet that can expand your life length and make you an all-around happier person.”
- Laverne Cox, of Orange Is The New Black, who announced on Instagram that she was “newly vegan” and felt “so much better.”
- Danielle Brooks, also of Orange Is The New Black, who announced on ABC’s The Chew that she had been vegan for two months. She grew up eating Southern comfort food, but said: “…this is my way of teaching myself how to eat properly, how to eat to live…”
- Edie Falco, known for her role on The Sopranos, who had been a long-time vegetarian and recently committed to being a vegan.
- Reality TV star Shawn Booth, known for winning season 11 of “The Bachelorette,” told People magazine he went vegan. He said:
“I never thought in a million years that I would give up meat… But it’s all about doing what feels best for your body”
Google Is Shifting Towards Plants — For Its Employees (and Beyond)
Google employees get to eat free food at employee cafeterias. And lately, the meals are using more plant-based foods and less meat.
As part of a broader sustainability initiative, Google recognizes that meat consumption is an important part of its carbon footprint and that animal agriculture is a big part of our environmental crisis.
Therefore, its chefs are subtly nudging workers to eat less meat. They aren’t trying to serve all-vegetarian meals immediately, but are slowly “moving people along a continuum.”
Chefs are experimenting with plant-forward dishes. And Google has been working with Better Buying Lab — which develops strategies to help consumers buy and consume more sustainable foods — and hopes to change the landscape of restaurants beyond Google cafeterias.