Substantial increase in the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
so much choice for vegans

The number of Spanish adults who say they are vegans, vegetarians, or flexitarians has risen sharply. And now stands at 5.1 million people, representing a 65% growth compared to 2017.  

The results of the biennial survey ‘The Green Revolution’ – conducted among 1,000 respondents – show the percentage was 7.9% in 2017. Whereas in 2019 it was 9.9%, which indicates rapid growth. The survey shows that 13% of the adult Spanish population now classify themselves as ‘vegan’ – consuming no animal products -, vegetarian – eating no animal meat but eggs or dairy products – or  – eating meat sporadically. flexitarian

Biggest growth for ‘vegans’ 

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meat free burgers

The group of flexitarians with 4.2 million consumers is the largest and has grown 39% in the last two years. In contrast, the number of vegetarians has fallen slightly to 550,000 people, down 4.5%. Meanwhile, the number of Spaniards who call themselves vegan has increased by 60% to 315,000. 

In 2017, the report already mentioned a ‘veggie wave’, today it seems rather a ‘tsunami’. The rise of veganism appears to be ‘unchanged by the pandemic’.  

The study also refers to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. This shows the amount of fresh meat consumed in Spain fell by around 14% between 2019 and 2013. Furthermore, this represents a decrease in per capita meat consumption from 52.7 kilos per person to 45.2 kilos per person. Whereas, the amount of fresh vegetables increased, which the report’s authors say is a further sign of a ‘transition to a more plant-based diet’. 

Young people  

The profile of vegetarian consumers shows no differences by gender and all age groups are represented, although the youngest group, consumers aged between 18 and 34, is the largest. It is also noteworthy that vegetarianism used to be “a phenomenon found mainly in large cities” but is now spreading to smaller towns and cities. 

Motives 

60% of flexitarians cite health as a reason for choosing plant-based food. This is a decrease from the 67% who cited this as the main reason in 2019. Animal welfare concerns have actually increased and are now cited by 34.3% of those surveyed. This was 23.8% in 2019. 

17% of those surveyed say they are ‘open to buying lab-grown meat’ – an option not yet available on the Spanish market – while a majority of 54% are hesitant to try it. According to the report, the increase of plant-based alternatives to animal products in supermarkets is playing a key role in the growth of vegetarian consumption. The Spanish market for plant-based alternatives already accounts for €430 million per year and 250 million kilos in volume. 

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Vegetable-based drinks, based on almonds, oats etc., lead the segment with some 69% by value and 91% by volume. 

Biggest growth for ‘vegans’ 

The flexitarians group with 4.2 million consumers is the largest and has grown by 39% in the last two years. In contrast, the number of vegetarians has fallen slightly to 550,000 people, down 4.5%. Meanwhile, the number of Spaniards who call themselves vegan has increased by 60% to 315,000. 

In 2017, the report already mentioned a ‘veggie wave’, today it seems rather a ‘tsunami’. The rise of veganism appears to be ‘unchanged by the pandemic’.  

The study also refers to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, which show that the amount of fresh meat consumed in Spain fell by around 14% between 2019 and 2013. This represents a decrease in per capita meat consumption from 52.7 kilos per person to 45.2 kilos per person, while the amount of fresh vegetables increased, which the report’s authors say is a further sign of a ‘transition to a more plant-based diet’. 

Young people  

The profile of vegetarian consumers shows no differences by gender and all age groups are represented, although the youngest group, consumers aged between 18 and 34, is the largest. It is also noteworthy that vegetarianism used to be “a phenomenon found mainly in large cities” but is now spreading to smaller towns and cities. 

Motives 

60% of flexitarians cite health as a reason for choosing plant-based food. This is a decrease from the 67% who cited this as the main reason in 2019. Animal welfare concerns have actually increased and are now cited by 34.3% of those surveyed. This was 23.8% in 2019. 

17% of those surveyed say they are ‘open to buying lab-grown meat’ – an option not yet available on the Spanish market – while a majority of 54% are hesitant to try it. According to the report, the increase of plant-based alternatives to animal products in supermarkets is playing a key role in the growth of vegetarian consumption. The Spanish market for plant-based alternatives already accounts for €430 million per year and 250 million kilos in volume. 

Vegetable-based drinks, with almonds, oats, etc., lead the segment with some 69% by value and 91% by volume. 

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