How many vegetarians and vegans are in the UK?

How many Brits will give up meat in 2022?

In 2023, more and more Brits are following a meat-free diet, which means they’ve chosen to become vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan.

With various food subscription services and brands now catering to plant-based lifestyles, adopting a meat-free diet has now become much easier and accessible for Brits. We carried out our annual survey of 2,000 adults to investigate the diet habits and intentions of UK residents this year.

Quick overview

  • Currently, 14% of adults in the UK (7.2 million) are following a meat-free diet.
  • A further 8.6 million Brits plan to go meat-free in 2023, which means that the UK could have a total of 15.8 million meat-free citizens at the beginning of 2023 (30% of the adult population).
  • The most popular meat-free diet is vegetarianism with 3.4 million already following in 2023.
  • Younger generations are significantly more likely to follow a meat-free diet, with 43% of gen Z planning to cut meat from their diet in 2023.

How many people in the UK are vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian in 2023?

According to our survey, 86% of the population currently eat meat in their diets. This means that around 7.2 million British adults (14%) currently follow a meat-free diet.

How many vegetarians are there in the UK?
With around 3.4 million people in the UK (6.5%), the vegetarian diet remains the most common of the non-meat diets.

How many pescatarians are there in the UK?
The next most popular meat-free diet at the moment is the pescatarian diet, with around 2.4 million Brits (4.5%) opting for this diet.

How many vegans are there in the UK?
Lastly, there are around 1.4 million people in the UK who are currently vegan (2.5%), a number which is growing rapidly.

Kind of diet Percentage of UK following
Vegetarian 6.45%
Pescatarian 4.50%
Vegan 2.55%

How many people gave up meat in 2022?

There was a net loss of 103,000 people who gave up on their meat-free diets in the UK throughout 2022, according to our research.

The diet that gained the most recruits in 2022 was vegetarianism, with 155,000 people joining the cause, while 9,117 people took up pescetarianism. However, these gains were offset by a decrease of over 268,000 vegans.

Kind of diet 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Vegetarian 6.90% 6.55% 6.00% 6.25% 6.45%
Pescatarian 4.10% 4.10% 4.70% 4.55% 4.50%
Vegan 1.30% 2.10% 3.00% 3.10% 2.55%

How many people plan to give up meat in 2023?

Brits are once again optimistic about cutting meat out of their diets in 2023. 8.6 million of us plan to become vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian over the next 12 months. While our previous research suggests it is very unlikely that everyone will stick to these intentions, if they did, the UK would have a total of 15.8 million meat-free citizens at the beginning of 2024.

Meat-free by end of 2022 Intending to go meat-free in 2023 Total meat-free by 2024
Vegetarian 6.45% 6.50% 12.95%
Pescatarian 4.50% 5.65% 10.15%
Vegan 2.55% 4.00% 6.55%

Which generation eats the least meat?

There is a clear age divide when it comes to views on eating meat. Our studies show that millennials are currently the most meat-free generation. Almost 1 in 4 (18%) of millennials currently go without meat by following a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet, and a further 26% intend to stop eating meat in 2023.

Gen Z are not far behind, with 16% of this generation currently following a meat-free diet. However those in this age group are the most optimistic when it comes to cutting meat out of their diet in 2023, with 43% of gen Z’s intending to do so. If all of these individuals were to stick to their intentions, 59% of gen Z would be meat-free by 2024.

The silent generation (aged 74+) were the least likely to avoid meat, with only 5% currently doing so, and a meager 1% intending to cut meat from their diet in 2023.

Planned to ditch meat in 2021 Planned to ditch meat in 2022 Plan to ditch meat in 2023
Generation Z 25.90% 29.73% 43.00%
Millennials 15.50% 26.76% 26.00%
Generation X 14.80% 15.97% 12.00%
Baby Boomers 5.20% 5.30% 5.00%
Silent Gen 4.20% 4.71% 1.00%

Are there gender differences when it comes to diet?

The survey found that there are currently 16% less men than women who don’t consume meat. While this may be a slight difference, the same can’t be said for intentions to change diet. In 2023, a whopping 319% more men than women are planning to go vegan (7% versus 2%), 177% more men than women intend to go pescatarian (8% versus 3%) and 98% more men than women plan to go vegetarian (9% versus 4%).

Men Women
Plan to be Vegetarian 8.70% 4.40%
Plan to be Pescatarian 8.39% 3.03%
Plan to be Vegan 6.55% 1.56%
Men Women % difference
Currently meat-free 7.16% 8.50% 16%
Plan to ditch meat in 2022 6.55% 6.35% -3%
Total meat-free by 2023 13.72% 14.86% 8%

Which region has the most vegetarians?

By the end of 2023, almost half of Greater London (46%) could be following a meat-free diet. This is if the 25% of Londoners who intend to ditch meat in 2023 actually follow through. With one in four Londoners currently following either a vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan diet, London is already the most meat-free region in the UK.

Following London is the West Midlands and Northern Ireland with 20% intending to ditch meat in 2022. Then East Midlands (18%), Yorkshire and the Humber (17%), East of England (16%), North West and Wales (14%).

On the other end of the intention spectrum is the North East, where just 9% of the population plan to adopt a meat-free lifestyle in 2023. This means that by 2024, just 18% of the North East will be meat-free, making them the least meat-free nation in the UK.

Hover over the map below for a closer look at which regions plan to ditch the meat in 2023.

Currently meat-free Ditching meat in 2023 Total meat-free by 2024
East of England 10.22% 16.13% 26.34%
Greater London 20.38% 25.28% 45.66%
East Midlands 13.61% 17.69% 31.29%
West Midlands 17.05% 20.45% 37.50%
North East 9.76% 8.54% 18.29%
North West 14.09% 14.09% 28.18%
Northern Ireland 7.27% 20.00% 27.27%
Scotland 10.32% 11.61% 21.94%
South East 14.64% 12.14% 26.79%
South West 12.21% 12.79% 25.00%
Wales 7.29% 13.54% 20.83%
Yorkshire and the Humber 11.45% 16.87% 28.31%

Commenting on the findings, Reemul Balla, shopping specialist at Finder said:

Although the number of people who turned meat-free has dropped significantly last year, this year’s findings still show that adopting a veggie diet continues to remain popular across the country.

Meat-free diets and being ‘flexitarian’ are getting more media exposure than ever so you would expect these positive trends to continue growing. However, it’s important to be savvy and shop around to make sure you’re not falling into traps with overpriced specialty products. A little bit of research and intuitiveness in the kitchen can go a long way. It will also be worth keeping an eye on how much inflation has spiked food prices this year.

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Censuswide to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
  • The research was conducted in December 2021.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications managerT: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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