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Veganism is a lifestyle which avoids meat, fish and other animal by-products such as dairy, and is gaining popularity as each year goes by. In January 2023 there was a record-breaking sign up rate for Veganuary with one person signing up every 2.4 seconds on 1st January.

Some people believe that following a vegan, or plant-based, diet is extremely costly. To find out more, this article will investigate the costs related to veganism particularly in light of the current cost of living crisis and whether it is more or less expensive to be a vegan in 2024.

At CashLady, we have conducted our own research as well as collecting data from trusted sources in the food industry which will be included and referenced throughout this collection of statistics.

Growing veganism

Over the past few years, veganism has grown tremendously, with more people becoming vegan every year. Currently, the total number of vegans, vegetarians and all other related categories is around 14% of the world population.

Here are some of the most interesting statistics relating to veganism and its growth over the past few years:

  • In the UK, over the past five years, the number of vegans has quadrupled
  • In 2022, there were one million vegans recorded in the UK - this accounts for almost 1.5% of the UK’s population
  • The number of vegans worldwide in 2023 was approximately 88 million, which is around 1.1% of the world’s population
  • Over the past five years, the search term ‘veganism’ has increased by 580% on Google
  • In 2021, the global vegan market size was nearly 16 billion US dollars
  • By 2025, the global vegan food market is expected to reach over 22 billion US dollars

Sources: https://thevou.com/lifestyle/how-many-vegans-are-in-the-world/ and https://www.statista.com/statistics/1280275/value-of-the-global-vegan-food-market/

The cost of being a vegan

Due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, a top priority for Brits is currently saving money. So, would you save more money by becoming a vegan?

A study that analysed vegan products compared to their non-vegan equivalent, found that:

  • 40% of the vegan products were cheaper than their non-vegan equivalents
  • 13% cost the same price for vegan and non-vegan
  • 47% of the vegan products were more expensive than their non-vegan equivalents

From the above statistics, it is clear to see that over half of vegan products are either cheaper or the same price as their non-vegan equivalents. This could be due to the rising costs of meat and dairy products which have reportedly skyrocketed significantly.

For example, the price of chicken breast has increased by 17.4% in the past year and the price of cow’s milk has risen by 26.7%. Source

In comparison to this, vegan alternatives have risen in price but significantly less. Cow’s milk alternatives such as almond and oat milks have only risen by 8.2% retrospectively and Quorn’s meat-free alternative to chicken breast has only risen by 10.4%. Source

So, how much would you save by becoming a vegan?

Research based on weekly meal diaries from 11,000 Brits across the year suggests that you can get a vegan meal for 40% cheaper than meat and fish alternatives. Source

The study also found that vegan households spend 8% less on a grocery trip than a non-vegan household of a similar size. Source

The cheapest UK vegan fast food restaurants

If you are thinking of becoming a vegan, you probably want to know where you can find the cheapest vegan meal in the UK. Experts at Cash Lady have investigated the prices of vegan meals at fast food restaurants and have determined the six restaurants that offer vegan customers the best value for money.

The research has uncovered that the fast food restaurant that offers the best value for money when buying a vegan meal is Greggs, costing a total of just £3.50.

The pricing was based off a meal deal including:

  • Mains
  • Sides
  • Drinks
Ranking Restaurant Total Price
1st Greggs £3.50
2nd McDonalds £5.59
3rd Subway £6.39
4th Burger King £7.99
5th KFC £8.38
6th Dominos £16.99

Summary of statistics

From our research and research from other trusted sources, we can see that in 2024 there are already more people becoming vegans than ever before, and the cost of being a vegan will either be cheaper or the same price as other non-vegan alternatives given the rising costs of meat and dairy products.


Prices calculated based on cheapest meal deal options – or equivalent items where meal deal not applicable.

All menu items calculated to feed 1 person.

Restaurants chosen based on data surrounding the UK’s most popular dining brands as of the first quarter of 2022 (Source: Statista)

McDonalds: Medium Meal, based on prices at 36/38 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5EJ

KFC: Vegan Burger With a Drink Meal, Regular (excludes sides); cheapest vegan sides option; based on prices at 81-83 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2BZ

Burger King: Vegan Royale Meal, Medium; based on prices at 6 Goodiers Drive, Salford, M5 4BT

Subway: Subway Meal Deal; based on prices at 96 Portland Street, M1 4GX

Dominos: Home Alone Deal, Medium; based on prices at Manchester All Saints Branch, 129 Grosvenor St, Manchester, M1 7HE

Greggs: Individual item prices; based on prices at U6 Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN

Additional Sources

McDonald's Allergen Info: https://www.mcdonalds.com/content/dam/sites/uk/nfl/pdf/nutrition/allergen-leaflet-04012023.pdf

KFC Nutrition Info: https://brand-uk.assets.kfc.co.uk/nutrition-allergens.pdf

Burger King Nutrition Info: https://www.burgerking.co.uk/nutrition-explorer

Subway Allergen Info: https://www.subway.com/en-gb/menunutrition/nutrition

Dominos Allergen Info: https://corporate.dominos.co.uk/Media/Default/Corporate%20Responsibility/Food/DominosIngredientsandAllergens.pdf

Greggs Allergen Info: https://a.storyblok.com/f/94904/x/c38f77c7c1/allergen-guide.pdf

Most popular UK dining brands 2022: https://www.statista.com/statistics/950444/most-popular-restaurant-brands-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

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