The Vegan Economy

Posted 08.07.2020

It’s more than just the month-long ‘Veganuary’ challenge.

Veganism has become a popular lifestyle choice amongst Generation Z and Millennials in the UK. In 2018, there were over 600,000 people following a vegan lifestyle, which has continued to grow in popularity 1.

Veganism is described as a lifestyle choice which aims to exclude forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, and other consumers purposes where possible and practicable 2.

Key supermarkets are stocking more vegan options to appeal to the growing consumer demand. Fast-food chains, including McDonalds and Greggs have launched vegan alternatives, which have had a substantial impact on sales.

In 2018, the market for meat-free foods was £740m compared to £539m in 2015 1. Businesses are reconsidering their product diversity, as a vegan lifestyle is considered a longer-term consumer shift rather than a trend.

The global Coronavirus lockdown led to 1 in 5 adults reducing their consumption of meat and dairy products 3. Companies with a vegan-food offering are seeing benefits to their share prices.

As supermarkets and restaurants build their vegan offering, products have become more accessible to consumers who are willing to trial an alternative diet. Many consumers do not consider themselves vegan but are interested in reducing their meat intake. Some consider themselves ‘flexitarian’ which involves adopting a part-time vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

A range of factors have influenced this dietary choice. A survey of 12,814 people in the UK, reflected that 68.1% chose to adapt their diets in favour of animal welfare, whilst health reasons influenced 17.4% of those surveyed 3. Other influencing factors include environmental impact, weight management and taste 1.

We could see a reduction of 70% in greenhouse gas emissions if a vegan diet became widely adopted. A study performed by Finder reported that we could see up to 12 million people following a meat-free diet by the end of 2020 4.

Whilst it encourages us to consider our dietary choices, it may also influence our wider product-purchasing decisions, including sustainable sourcing methods when it comes to clothing and cosmetic choices in relation to animal welfare.

To find out more about St. James’s Place’s approach to responsible investing and the environment, visit their Corporate Social Responsibility page.


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