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Why Are Plant-Based Diets Becoming So Popular?

All over the world, the popularity of veganism is growing. Few countries, however, are embracing the trend as enthusiastically as the UK.

In 2014, there were 150,000 (0.25% of the population) vegans in the UK. In 2019, there were 600,000 (1.21% of the population). In a period of five years, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled, and almost a quarter of new products launched in the UK that year were labelled as vegan.

Consumer research in 2021 showed that 15% of Brits had completely cut out dairy products from their diets, and another 42% had reduced their dairy intake.

A 2022 survey of UK plant-based food trends revealed that 48% of adults in the UK are using plant-based milk alternatives, and 58% are using plant-based meat alternatives. Almost half of those who took part in the survey expressed an intent to reduce their intake of animal products.

There are four main philosophical reasons for adopting a plant-based diet:

  1. Religion
  2. Health
  3. Animal rights
  4. Sustainability


India has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world. This tendency towards a plant-based diet is connected to ahimsa – the ideology of non-violence – which forms the basis of India’s main religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

  • There are approximately 1.6 billion Hindus in the world, with about 1.1 billion living in India … May all beings look at me with a friendly eye, may I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eyes of a friend. Yajurveda (a religious text)
  • India is home to around 8.4 million of the world’s 507 million Buddhists … All living things fear being beaten with clubs. All living things fear being put to death. Putting oneself in the place of the other, let no-one kill nor cause another to kill. Dhammapada (Buddhist scripture)
  • About 4.5 million people in India practise Jainism … There is no virtue of spirit greater than reverence for life. Mahavira (24th Tirthankara)

Followers of these three religions represent approximately 81.5% of India’s total population. Although Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism don’t preclude meat consumption, the philosophy of ahimsa does influence people’s choices. However, the influence is more towards vegetarianism than veganism.

Health (dietary veganism)

Animal-food diets are associated with higher cardiovascular morbidity. High intake of plant-based foods, on the other hand, reduces the risk of heart disease. Animal foods – meat, milk, eggs, and their derivatives – contain saturated fats. Eating a lot of these foods can lead to high cholesterol levels, which increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Animal foods contain very little fibre, whereas vegetables and grains are good sources of fibre. A fibre-rich diet helps keep cholesterol levels low.

Meat has been categorised by the World Health Organisation as carcinogenic. A plant-based diet reduces the risk of cancer.

Animal rights (abolitionist veganism)

Abolitionist veganism is a philosophy based on the right of all sentient beings not to be treated as property or resources. The word vegan was coined in 1944 by a leading campaigner for abolitionism, Donald Watson.

Abolitionist veganism objects to animal welfare movements that endorse humane treatment of sentient property, because the concept leads to public complacence and general acceptability of animal exploitation.

Abolitionist vegans also stand against using dietary health as an incentive for veganism, as this motive of self-interest obscures the point of abolitionism.

Sustainability (environmental veganism)

Animal farming contributes to global warming and threatens biodiversity.

Approximately 5 billion hectares (38%) of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture. Two thirds of this land is grazing pasture for livestock, and the rest is cropland. Roughly one third of the cropland is used to grow feed for livestock.

Forests are destroyed to make space for farmland. Reduced foliage means reduced CO2 absorption, causing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise. Deforestation leads to reduced biodiversity – another threat to the world’s ecosystems.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of atmospheric methane has more than doubled. Methane is a by-product of enteric fermentation, the organic decomposition by microorganisms (methanogens) in the digestive systems of ruminants. At present there are more than 264 million dairy cows worldwide, all emitting methane gas.

Reduced demand for animal-based foods will lead to reduced production.

Businesses all over the world are working together to bring about cultural and economic changes that will help us achieve net zero by 2050.

KOJO, in Devonshire Square, London, is one of those businesses. Specialising in 100% plant-based juices, shakes, and baked goods. KOJO’s sustainability agenda goes beyond veganism. The brand has joined City-to-Sea’s Refill Revolution and is working towards eliminating single-use plastics by offering free chilled and ambient drinking water to customers from two self-service Aqua Alto taps. Read more on our project with KOJO here.

Reduced demand for single-use plastic will lead to reduced production of plastic.

Contact Aqua Libra Co

If you’d like to talk to us about sustainable hydration solutions, give us a call on 0800 080 6696 or email

You may also like to read about how to specify sustainable, innovative drinking-water systems.

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