The Internet is full of facts blown out of proportion and fake news, often backed by relatively convincing statistics. As the old saying goes:
“There are three kinds of falsehoods: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
A quick search on Google for ‘vegan statistics in 2021’ can lead you down a rabbit hole of disreputable sources, wild claims, and the downright absurd! Even hard facts can be used to mislead and confuse us. Clickbait claims like “a vegan diet will protect you against coronavirus” and “going vegan will save the planet” may be founded on truth but they have probably been taken out of context. Often, it’s not quite as simple as just ‘going vegan’.
That’s right and we’re certainly very passionate about the planet, animal rights, and public health! But here at BReD, we believe that honesty and transparency are key to the success of veganism. We don’t have to make false claims to explain why veganism is the right choice - the arguments are already compelling without having to embellish them with falsehoods.
With that in mind, we’ve put together the most important and reliable global and Canadian vegan statistics of 2021 so you can find all of the information you need in one place.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Great, let’s get started...
1. How many vegans are there in Canada?
According to a 2020 Statista dossier, there were approximately 850,000 vegans in Canada in 2018. In addition, roughly 2.3 million Canadians classed themselves as vegetarian.
These figures look set to rise in 2021 - research conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (Canada’s non-profit independent research organisation) has revealed that around 1 in 5 Canadians (22%) who regularly eat meat would like to reduce the amount of meat they consume.
The Atlantic region appears to have the lowest rate of veganism, although perhaps this will improve since 72% of respondents from the Atlantic provinces feel that consuming more plant-based foods and products is a positive choice.
3. Online searches for plant-based and vegan-related topics are on the rise
According to The London Free Press, SEMrush, a marketing analytics company, announced a 113% increase in plant-based and vegan-related Internet searches in Canada between 2016 and 2020 based on Google Trends data. Once again, British Colombian residents led the way, conducting an average of 1,446 searches per 1 million people.
Want to know the most popular vegan-related topic? Vegan food, of course! The most searched for keyphrase was ‘vegan cheese’, at an average of 5,317 searches per month.
In fact, we went ahead and checked SEMrush today (August 19th 2021) to get the latest data and we discovered that people search Google for ‘vegan cheese’ approximately 6,600 times a month in Canada. Globally, there are over 115.3K searches every month - that’s a lot of interest in plant-based dairy alternatives!
4. A plant-based diet has a significant positive impact on the environment
One of the biggest motives for eating a vegan diet is to protect the environment and claims that veganism can have a positive impact are certainly founded on reliable statistics.
For example, the World Bank reported in 2004 that animal agriculture was responsible for the majority of Amazon rainforest deforestation, with 91% of the land cleared being used for cattle ranching.
On the other hand, a report published in Science has found that following a vegan diet can cut the use of land by 76%, greenhouse gas emissions by 49%, and freshwater withdrawals by 19%.
However, this last statistic is a projection based on the entire population switching to a vegan diet and there are many other factors that negatively impact the environment! So...will veganism save the planet? Probably not. But it certainly helps!
5. Are vegans statistically healthier?
Another big claim often made is that a vegan diet is the healthiest. And, once again, this is partially based on facts.
For example, a 2021 study found that plant-based diets were associated with a decreased risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 in 6 out of 6 countries surveyed. However, they also found that pescetarian diets showed a similar association.
But it’s not the first research paper to promote the health benefits of a vegan diet. In fact, based on a whole heap of evidence including scientific studies, Canadian surveys, health claim assessments, and other reliable sources of information, Health Canada amended their Canadian Food Guide in 2016 to encourage Canadians to eat more plant-based foods.
This is because, in general, those who follow a healthy, balanced vegan diet:
So, are vegans statistically healthier? In some ways, yes. But not all vegans eat exactly the same diet. Oh, and junk food veganism is a thing! Furthermore, whilst it is statistically significant in lowering health risks, a vegan diet does not entirely prevent disease or cure every ailment. It can also come with health risks of its own if not carefully planned - so make sure you eat your greens and sprinkle your salads with flaxseeds!
Here’s a video by Dr. Greger to help you stay healthy as a vegan: