Veganism has risen by 350 per cent in the last decade

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Formerly, vegans were a persecuted minority: the butt of rather tired jokes. They all wore hemp, probably; they chewed on mung beans. They were wide-eyed and breathy. They had no sense of humour at all.

Now, though, the profile of the typical vegan has changed, otherwise our streets would be crawling with docile anaemics in burlap culottes. Veganism has risen by 350 per cent in the last decade, making it one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements in the UK. It’s likely you know a vegan. They probably look disarmingly normal.

Research commissioned by The Vegan Society with Vegan Life magazine, and carried out by Ipsos MORI, finds that there are now more than half a million vegans in Britain: the study found that 542,000 people follow a diet that excludes meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and honey.

The study found that 3.25 per cent of the population – equating to 1.68 million people – are either vegetarian or vegan. Furthermore, half of vegetarians asked said that they would like to reduce their consumption of dietary animal products. The highest proportion of vegans are based in London: 22 per cent of the total number identified.

42 per cent of vegans were aged 15 – 34. Only 14 per cent of them were over 65. The next generation looks like a greener, more compassionate one.