The Rise of Plant-Based Eating

woman and her healthy plant-based diet

Here at The Good Mood Co, we pride ourselves on our “No Nasties” products. All our products are vegetarian, free from preservatives, soy, lactose, sweeteners, and harmful ingredients. We believe in clean consumption and our capsules reflect those beliefs.

A giant aspect of our clean consumption beliefs is plant-based eating which is growing larger than ever before. Veganism has been around for a while but its rise into mainstream popular culture reflects how individuals are aspiring for a more conscious and clean diet.

The list of growing public figures who are vegan is ever-expanding and the numbers show more people are vegan and vegetarian. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Vegan Society, there are about 600,000 vegans in the UK, which is up from an estimated 150,000 in 2006. Additionally, there are about 1.7 Britons who are either vegetarian or vegan.


woman and her healthy plant-based diet


Flexible Flexitarianism 

Flexitarian diets offer easier access to vegan and vegetarian diets without a full commitment. Flexitarian diets are essentially a healthy relationship between flexible non-vegetarian and scaling back the consumption of meat and focus on increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat.

While there is room for adjustment and it is not as strict as a completely vegan diet, it provides a pathway to becoming a full or almost vegan! Flexitarian diets are easy to follow and are designed to encourage weight management and lowering the rates of disease, diabetes, and cancer. In 2018, 34% of British meat-eaters reduced their meat consumption following a flexitarian approach which is an increase from 28% in 2017.

Various campaigns are conducted to promote the reduction of meat consumption. Veganuary, a UK nonprofit organization, promotes and educates the exploration of a vegan lifestyle by encouraging individuals to follow a vegan lifestyle for January.

The concept follows Dry January, a challenge encouraging an alcohol-free month and for individuals to evaluate their relationship with alcohol. In January 2020, 400,000 people signed up for Veganuary which is a significant increase from when the initiative started in 2014. Currently, Veganuary is followed in over 192 countries around the world with over 900,000 participants since 2014.

 The Growth of a Meat-Free Market

 The rise of veganism has built a massive market for animal-free products. According to Mintel, the UK had the highest amount of new vegan products launched in 2018. 16% of new food products in the UK claimed to be animal-free doubling from 8% in 2015.

The meat-free market had an estimated £740 million in sales in 2018 and is expected to grow. A prominent reason for the growth of the meat-free market is the rise of plant-based milk which is incredibly popular amongst young people. 1 out of 10 Brits enjoyed plant-based milk in 2018 with the diverse offerings of cashew, oat, almond, and other plant-based products.

Supermarkets are capitalizing on the growth of meat-free products by dedicated sections of their stores and developing their brand of products. You’ve probably noticed when you walk down an aisle in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, or Waitrose that there are dedicated sections of meat-free branded products. Vegans and flexitarians can easily find products and other consumers are introduced to new products.

Fast-food companies are joining the movement by creating meatless options for their consumers. Popular brands like KFC, McDonald's, Pret a Manger, developed popular offerings in 2020 that received widespread enthusiasm. KFC sold over 1 million vegan burgers in January 2020, and the popular delivery service, Deliveroo, announced the sale of vegan dishes increased by 78% in 2020 compared to last year.

 Better Health and Environment

 There are a multitude of factors for why people are going vegan but two main motivators are consistent. Health, especially weight management is the number one reason why individuals are switching over to meat-free diets.

Research shows that diets that reduce red meat consumption and incorporate high amounts of fruits, veggies, and whole grains lower the risk of diseases and generally improve health outcomes.

Environmental protection is consistently one of the top reasons why people become vegan or reduce their meat consumption.

Research supports a vegan diet can improve the environment as meat production is responsible for more emissions per unit generated compared with plant-based foods.

Meat production emits three major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, and is the single largest contributor of methane emissions. Additionally, agriculture uses more freshwater than any other human activity and nearly a third of that is used for livestock. 

The Future

Plant-based eating will continue to grow as individuals grapple with the health and environmental impacts of meat-based diets. The Good Mood Co continues to design products sustainably at our core including health and environmental sustainability. We encourage conscious consumption that not only nurtures our bodies but protects our planet.


Written by Tariq Ahmed
University of College London | 2019
MSc Global Health & Development