Is Europe vegan?

The reduction of meat consumption and the vegetarian movement's expanse are vivid in the last years and based on ideological, environmental, health, and financial reasons. The vegetarian diet mostly excludes meat, fish, and seafood consumption. In contrast, the vegan diet excludes animal derivatives- eggs, dairy, honey, and the purchase of products with animal elements, such as leather clothing.

Globally, vegetarians and vegans constitute about 8% of the population.

However, it is difficult to report with certainty the number of vegetarians due to cultural criteria, personal habits, and a small sample of people analyzed. Simultaneously, the vegetarian or vegan label can differ and include many in-between dietary models and patterns, so the term cannot mean something stable for everyone.

In Europe, vegetarianism and especially veganism seem to be a lot more common in recent years. About 6% of the continent's population are vegetarians or vegans, and in all countries, vegetarians' percentage is higher than vegans'. In 2016, Italy was the country with the highest rate of vegetarians, at 10% to be exact, followed by the UK, Germany, and Austria, with 9% each. The most significant dietary shift is in the youth, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland having the most significant part of young people, ages 16 to 24, being vegetarian. Between 2013 and 2017, meat substitutes in the European market increased by 451%. The issue of veganism in Europe links to the environmental crisis, and a research of 2014 estimated that if EU's citizens reduce their consumption of meat and animal derivatives by half, the contribution of animal agriculture to the greenhouse effect will decrease by 25% to 40%, reaching the goal of the EU by 2030.

In a collective perspective, though, the data are very few, and the statistics not enough. The European Vegetarian Union has called the EU Commission to research more reliable information on Europeans' dietary habits and the impact on the market.