Vegan Statistics

Veganism has been experiencing a surge in popularity and practice over the recent years, with more and more people adopting a vegan lifestyle every day.

Health concerns, climate change, and animal welfare activism are some of the most common reasons people opt for minimal use of animal-derived products. If the rise in vegan trends throughout history is of any indication, veganism is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

With this in mind, Soylent has compiled a list of vegan statistics worth knowing for 2022.

Topics Covered

  Key Highlights

  • 10% of U.S. adults identify as vegan or vegetarian.
  • The number of vegans worldwide reaches approximately 79 million.
  • From 2004 to 2019, the number of vegans in the US increased 30 fold.
  • The plant-based market grew by 27% during the pandemic.
  • Gas emissions caused by animal agriculture range from 14.5% to 16.5%.
  • Only 1% of the world’s population identifies as vegan.
  • A vegan diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 32%.

General Veganism Statistics

Estimating the global vegan population is a hefty task; however, data suggest that there are approximately 79 million vegans worldwide. With the global population rising to 7.8 billion, the percentage of the vegan population is not as significant.

Research shows that in America alone, the number of vegans in 2019 reached over 9.7 million. Moreover, projections for the future suggest that by 2040, only 40% of the global population will continue eating meat.

Motivations for turning vegan vary between individuals. According to studies, 68.1% of individuals who turn vegan are motivated by animal welfare, 17.4% do it for health reasons, whereas 9.7% for environmental and sustainability reasons.

The Vegan Society currently registers over 61,000 products, most of which are cosmetics rather than food. Additionally, 72% of Americans are against cosmetic companies testing their products on animals.

Due to the rise in demand for sustainable vegan fashion and beauty products, there’s been an equal rise in the output of such products from companies. For example, the vegan fashion industry was worth $396.9 billion in 2019.

Regarding access to vegan food, the top five cities are London, New York City, Berlin, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

Veganism as a phenomenon in the U.S is more apparent in Black and Indigenous communities.

BBC reports that roughly 1 in 12 Black Americans, or 8%, are vegans or vegetarians. Reportedly, Black Americans are the fastest growing vegan group among all Americans.

1 in 12 Black Americans are vegans or vegetarians.

In terms of demographics, statistics show that most of those adopting a plant-based diet are female (59%), and only 41% are male. Furthermore, 40% of vegans are millennials, whereas baby boomers and Gen X account for 21% each.  

Regarding political orientation, roughly 52% of vegans identify as liberal, 34% are neutral, and 15% are conservative. A surprising statistic reveals that most of the vegan population earn roughly $54,000 yearly, which is less than what the average American makes.

Veganuary, one of the most popular plant-based campaigns, has the main purpose of endorsing a vegan diet for January.

In 2022, the sign-ups for this campaign reached new highs, with over 629,000 people from 228 different countries signing up to participate.

Historically, this number has increased every year.

Vegan and Plant-Based
Diet Statistics

Going vegan is a significant lifestyle change that many are not ready for. Despite a lot of Americans not being vegan, many try to incorporate a more holistic and plant-based approach to their diets.

39% of Americans claim that despite not abiding by a vegan diet, they try to incorporate more plants and fewer animal products in their diets.

Good Food Institute reports that sales for plant-based foods in 2021 have grown three times faster than those for non-plant-based foods. Moreover, the vegan market value increased from $14.44 billion in 2020 to $15.77 billion in 2021.

The plant-based meat market has also experienced significant growth in the last few years. By 2026, it’s estimated to register a growth rate of 18.9%. Currently, plant-based meat makes up only 2% of all packaged meat sold in America.  

The global estimated consumption of plant-based milk grew from half a kilo in 2013 to a whopping full kilogram in 2020. Additionally, the overall consumption of vegan milk grew from 3.7 billion kilos in 2013 to 6.3 billion kilos in 2020.

Plant-based milk is also a growing industry with a market cap worth $8 billion in 2016 and an expected growth of $21 billion by 2024.

By 2017, the consumption of plant-based milk increased by 61%, compared to cow milk consumption, which declined by roughly 22%. Soy milk holds the spot as the most popular plant-based milk.

Investments in alternative protein sources reached $3.1 billion, 4.5 times more than 2018. The vegan egg alternative market also experienced a boom, with a growth of 700% since 2018.

81% of global consumers bought vegan milk, 48% bought other dairy replacements, 44% bought vegan meat, and 25% bought vegan egg substitutes.

According to recent NSF surveys, 88% of food industry experts believe that the demand for vegan and plant-based products will continue to increase. Health and environmental concerns are the most common reasons for the increased consumption of plant-based alternatives. 

Yearly growth for vegan and plant-based food and beverage launches increased from 21% in 2015 to 58% in 2019. Good Food Institute reported that from 2018 to 2021, vegan alternatives to milk and meat grew by about 54%.

$ 7.4b

The retail market for plant-based food in 2022 is worth $7.4 billion, which is $5.5 billion more than in 2019.

199%

By 2021, plant-based online retail showed a 199% year-on-year increase, making it the ‘category of the year’ according to 101data.

33%

Vegan milk makes up 16% of all milk sold in sales alone, and 35% of the entire plant-based food market. Plant milk sales grew by 33% from 2018 to 2021.

74%

Vegan meat sales grew by 74% from 2018 to 2021.

10%

Vegan baby food market increased by 10% from 2016 to 2021.

75%

Plant-based milk has a high repeat buy pattern, a 75% rate precisely.

Veganism & Environmental
Effects Statistics

The environmental effects of meat consumption have been at the forefront of both vegan and environmental activism, and that for a good reason.

Global reports show that farming for dairy, eggs, meat, and fish uses roughly 83% of the global farmland; however, they only provide about 18% of the calorie intake for the entire population. These categories also account for 58% of all food greenhouse gas emissions.

A vegan diet has the potential to not only reduce the amount of land used for farming and decrease deforestation but can also decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 49% and reduce freshwater withdrawals by 19%.

Results from a The Research Institute 2022 study show that greenhouse gas emissions from the average American diet are mostly attributed to meat (56%) and dairy (18%).

Every passing second, our planet loses 700 yards of land to accommodate and feed farm animals. If the majority of the population adopted a vegan or plant-based diet, the need for farming croplands would decrease by 75%. 

About 80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used for farm animals in order to promote growth and help the animals deal with the stress caused by the conditions they’re raised in. Farms that house 2,500 cows create the same amount of waste that a city with 411,000 people would produce.

While 780 million people worldwide have no access to clean water, a third of the water supply goes to farm animals. Farm animals are by far the biggest water consumers in the U.S, with an individual cow consuming 50 gallons of water daily.

However, it takes over 2,400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of cow meat.  50% of global gas emissions come from beef and lamb production. Methane is one of the biggest contributors to gas emissions and propellers of global warming, 40% of it comes from cows. By replacing all animal products, 350 million more people could be sustained.

Health Benefits Statistics

Health benefits associated with a plant-based or vegan diet continue to be one of the main reasons people make the leap of going vegan. However, being vegan is not a one size fits all.

There are different types of veganism; some of them are:

What are some of the more significant health benefits of a vegan diet?

32%

Changing to a more vegan and plant-based diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 32%.

35%

The risk of prostate cancer can be reduced by 35%, and the risk for type 2 diabetes is decreased by 23%.

28%

Diabetes studies also show that a vegan diet can lower blood sugar levels by 28%.

There have been numerous studies that support the health benefits of a vegan diet. One study conducted for over 30 years concluded that, on average, vegans are less likely to die at a younger age than meat-eaters. Meanwhile, a one-year study comparing vegan diets with low-fat diets concluded that those consuming a plant-based diet, on average, lost double the amount of weight of those on a low-fat diet.

Moreover, Vegan diets are found to improve energy levels for those with osteoarthritis. It’s essential to keep in mind that whether or not you make a complete switch to a vegan diet, incorporating plants into your diet is great not only for your health but for the environment and the animals as well.

Continued collective efforts can ensure a more sustainable future for the planet!