Almost 500,000 Brits gave up meat in 2020 (and a further 6.5 million plan to do so in 2021)


The number of those who gave up meat in 2020 was double that of 2019’s figures

People following veganism increased by 40% in 2020

12% of the population intend to become vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian in 2021

As 2021’s Veganuary begins, annual diet intentions research from the shopping comparison site,, reveals that 470,000 Brits successfully started following a meat-free diet in 2020.

This is an increase of 100% compared to the numbers who started following a meat-free diet in 2019 (235,000) and takes the total number of Brits who are vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian up to 7.2 million, or 14% of the population.

The diet that saw the most new recruits was veganism, which saw a 40% rise in recruits. This means approximately 1.1 million people followed this at the beginning of 2020, but the figure now sits at over 1.5 million people. This is equivalent to 3% of the population.

Pescetarianism saw the second biggest rise in followers, with around 300,000 people successfully adopting the diet in 2020. This takes the total number to almost 2.5 million Brits (5%).

Interestingly, the number of Vegetarians actually declined by 10%, down to 6% of the population (3.1 million), although some of these people are likely to have switched to vegan and pescatarian diets.

2021 diet intentions:

The trend looks set to continue as well, with a staggering 6.5 million people saying they intend to become vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian in 2021, which is equivalent to 12% of the UK’s adults.

If everyone were successful with this aim, it would mean that over a quarter of the population (26%) – 13.7 million – would be meat-free by the end of the year.

As with previous years, it is the vegetarian diet that is set to have the most new recruits. Almost 2.8 million people (5%) intend to start following this diet in 2021.

For the first time though, the vegan diet looks set to be the second most popular diet in the coming year. The numbers planning to do this have doubled from the beginning of 2020, up to 2 million (4%) from 1 million (2%).

The number of people planning to become pescatarian have remained static from last year, with 1.7 million saying they take up the diet.

Not everyone is managing to stick to their diets. Despite the positive news that 470,00 people adopted meat-free diets in 2020, this is only 9% of all those who said they would in 2020.

If this trend continued with the UK’s 2021 diet intentions, it would mean that 580,000 of the 6.5 million new recruits would stick to their new diets.

Youngsters leading the meat-free charge.

The younger generations are significantly more likely to follow a meat-free diet. Leading the way is gen Z, with a fifth already doing so (20%) and a further 26% planning to adopt one in 2021.

Millennials are not far behind, currently 19% follow a meat-free diet and they could be joined by an additional 16% throughout 2021.

The silent generation are the least likely to follow a meat-free diet. Only 8% currently avoid meat and/or fish, with 4% aiming to join them throughout the coming year.

To see the full research, including breakdowns of which diets are the most popular in the UK, visit:

Commenting on the growth of the meat-free movement, Stephen Davis of, who gave up meat for the first time in 2020 said:

“I had been thinking about giving up meat for a while but the catalyst came when I watched Game Changers on Netflix early last year. Like many others I was surprised by what it showed and felt compelled to stop eating animal produce. I have mainly stuck to a vegan diet since giving up meat and there has been a noticeable improvement to my health – I also managed to lose a bit of weight.”

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