Veganz Nutrition Survey 2019 – The Results are in!

Why are Europeans vegan? What do the Swiss put in their frying pans and what kinds of products land in Portuguese shopping carts? On World Vegan Day 2019, we wanted to take a closer look at the European people and find out more about their diet and their eating and shopping habits in those respective countries. And by the way, we did the survery on our own – without a third, without a market research institution. 

Are you also super curious to know what foreign households put on their plates? Then you should have a look at the following data since we’ve summarised the most important findings! 

General Survey Results

First of all, we are especially grateful and proud of the fact that a total of 24,000 people from 15 different countries took part in the survey – a truly amazing result! We found it particularly interesting to find out what type of diet the people surveyed had. This produced the following results:  

33,7 % vegan
22,8 % flexitarian  
23,5 % omnivore  
14,1 % vegetarian  
5,9 % pescetarian 

In order to ensure demographic distribution and gender corresponded to the European population, we formed a cross-sectional sample of 3000 participants in subsequent study results. The proportion of men and women is roughly the same. Nearly 30 % of the test persons come from Germany, the rest from other European countries.   

1. From purchasing food items to standards and certifications

What do Europeans look out for when buying groceries? What are the reasons certain products see the light of the refrigerator and others have to go back onto their friends’ shelves? We also wanted to know what values are concealed behind a vegan diet.  

„Vegans are the Bodyguards of the Climate!“

A total of 86 % of European vegans said they place great value on sustainability and environmental protection when buying food – 13 % more than people who do not exclusively consume plant-based products. In Switzerland and Austria the figure is as high as 95 %.   

And if vegans sometimes choose vegan substitutes such as veggie schnitzel or various fish alternatives in addition to carrots, the rule of thumb applies when shopping: taste, quality and sustainability have top priority!   

It is therefore hardly surprising that the environmental and sustainability aspect ranks second among motivating factors for adopting a vegan diet, just after animal welfare. In the Czech Republic, this is the even more frequently cited motive.  

For 74 % of European vegans, certificates like Fairtrade or FSC are highly significant while 72 % place great value on certified organic products. And in particular the German vegans completely trust certificates, as well as the Danish and Dutch. Therefore, one can easily conclude that:   

„Vegans are the True ‘Certification Fans’!“

The answers are quite different for non-vegans. Only half of them pay attention to labels, including the organic ones. Based on these findings, it is highly plausible that just under 80 % of vegans buy their food from organic markets – 20 % more than with the other forms of nutrition! In France, almost all the vegans interviewed (97 %) bought organic food. In Poland there is much less organic affinity. The label is only relevant for 45 % of vegans and the organic shop is frequented much less.   

In this context, the regionality and seasonality of the products are also deciding factors in purchases. In Greece, all vegans state that they buy fruit and vegetables according to the seasons.  

2. Vegan through and through

85,7 % of the vegans we asked live a completely vegan lifestyle. In addition to purely plant-based items in their refrigerators, they also hang cruelty-free clothing in their closets and have vegan cosmetics in their bathrooms. Consequently:

„Vegans don’t do anything halfway!“

Vegan nuggets, fish sticks and mozzarella? Bring it! Most of them are very open to vegan substitutes: 88,1 % of our vegan participants like to have their meat, milk and cheese replaced by plant-based alternatives. In Portugal it’s even nearly 93 %. In the lead are milk substitutes, closely followed by meat alternatives and plant-based yoghurt or quark.   

By the way, a mere 30 % of vegans took the indirect path towards a vegan lifestyle. Almost 70 % were vegetarians first. Men and women from Greece were a bit more drastic: Half of all vegans decided to go plant-based overnight. Pretty tough, wouldn’t you say?   

3. Yay or Nay: In-vitro meat, laboratory cheese and crustaceans

Animal welfare is clearly a top priority for vegans when asked why they do not consume animal products. Especially the Dutch and Spanish participants have a heart for the fur ry friends: All of them stated here that they eat vegan food (among other things) out of their love of animals.  

„Vegans Stay True to their Values…“

… especially when it comes to the future of nutrition. Only 24 % could imagine eating in-vitro meat produced in a laboratory. In the case of omnivores, the figure is just under 36 %. The laboratory cheese, however, differs slightly: 49 % of European vegans see it as a valid alternative, whereas the omnivores, with only 39% approval, are rather critical of it and prefer to use the “genuine” cheese.  

Flour worms, crickets, locusts? No, thank you! For 93.2 % of vegans, insects are also considered living beings and therefore do not fit into their diet. For the remaining 6.8 % the tiny animals are indeed an alternative.   

4. DIY dishes and product discovery trips

Everything tastes better at home, right? Almost half of all vegans agree: 46,3 % use their own utensils every day and 29,7 % at least 5 times a week. This behaviour is particularly prevalent in Austria, Switzerland and Croatia, where vegans, in particular, often prefer to cook at home.  

„To thine own self be true, vegans!“

It’s different for the vegetarians and omnivores: Only 38 % prepare their meals from scratch and over 4 % cook at home fewer than once a week.  

Vegans also have clear preferences when it comes to finding out about the latest nutritional trends and product innovations: In addition to social media and online blogs, they prefer direct contact with friends. On average, however, their preferences are somewhat more distributed. The same applies to non-vegans. Also, information regarding all kinds of diets can be found in magazines and newspapers as well as directly in the supermarket as to what may end up on the plate next. 

5. Health as motivator and product wish-list

The health factor is more important to vegans than freshness. For other food groups, the opposite is true, although the proportion of people with food intolerances is higher among non-Vegans. More than half of all participants who consume purely plant-based foods also think:   

„A Vegan Diet is the Healthiest.“

In addition to animal welfare and environment, health was an important  motivating factor in giving up meat completely. Yet, a vegan diet alone does not seem to be enough to meet the demand for healthy nutrition. 88 % of vegans also look at the ingredients of plant-based substitutes before buying them. In France and Italy, of all vegans asked, they pay attention to high quality and attach particularly great importance on taste with their vegan products.  

If you take a look at the vegan product wish list of European vegans, the call for help is as follows:    

„Please more Baked Goods as well as Cold Cut and Cheese Alternatives!“

An entire 78,1 % of Croatian vegans miss cold cuts and cheese and would be happy with more variety in these areas. 82,4 % of all British feel the need for more vegan baked goods. But in Greece, things look a bit different: People want more variety in the area of vegan sweets and snacks.  

What are you going to do now with all this data mumbo-jumbo?

We feel very encouraged with our work from the past few years and equally inspired by all the input and insights – we would not have been able to do this without you. So, once again thank you very much!  

You want product launches, climate protection and sustainability? So do we! That’s why we will continue to focus on vegan, environmentally friendly and, above all, tasty new products in the future. In addition, we will constantly keep on moving on the centrifugal path of plastic packaging – until the search turns into a discovery and we have uncovered the best and most environmentally friendly packaging alternative for our products.
Furthermore, we will not stop at transparency in the food industry in the distant future, i.e. the life cycle assessment of our products will continue to be shown on the packaging. This is the most accurate way to see how sustainable our products are. We therefore make it particularly easy for you to decide which product is tasty while at the same time doing something for the environment.  

You want more fantastic facts about our nutrition study? You can also view the results of the survey here.