If we look at the google trend for “vegans”, we can see that interest for this topic has grown significantly over the last 12 months. In the last 10 years the growth has seen 350% increases. There are now over 3% of US citizens that identify as vegan. In the UK there are around 600,000, just short of 1% of the population.
Wouldn’t it be great to know or track the number of people who have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle? We did our research and found this website that allows people to register as vegan and acts as a tracker, but for obvious reasons it is not yet very accurate, but ONE DAY it may serve as the most honest resource we have to track the growth of veganism.
So whilst we can’t put an exact figure on how many per day, we can say that people are going vegan at an exponential rate. This is not only for the many health benefits but also, I believe, because of the use of social media. The highest demographic of vegan people matches with the ones using Twitter, Facebook and Youtube the most, this is no coincidence.
Raw Food Magazine had a quick chat with Bénédicte, the founder of HowManyVegans.com, and we encourage you all to register, spread love, compassion, freedom and justice:
Naida: Hi Bénédict, thank for making time to have a quick chat with us.If you could just jump right in and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do and what brought you into creating HowManyVegans.com.
Bénédict: Hello, thank you for inviting me to do this short interview. I am 32 years old and I live in Paris in France, I work freelance as a consultant specialized in communication in the catering sector. I myself have worked as a manager in many restaurants. Shortly after becoming a vegan, I began to ask myself how many vegans there are worldwide, not only in France, where it’s rather recent. I googled ‘how many vegans?’ and I could not find a country by country answer.
Naida: Thankful for giving us the chance to do this interview with you. I’ve asked the same question so many times until I found your website. When and why did you start HowManyVegans.com?
Bénédict: I really did not know many vegans and I felt a bit lonely. Annoyed at the fact that veganism is little spoken about and has had its share of criticism in France, a country of “good food”. So I wanted to reframe this image, prove the growing number of vegans and show our commitments to the values disseminated by veganism.
I also wanted vegetarians or people who try would like to experiment with veganism to identify themselves too; because all of our efforts deserve to be recognized and encouraged.
I designed and launched the site in one afternoon – March 8, 2016. I explained the reasons because they were obvious to me. I also ask the site’s visitors if they want to participate and translate the “why” section into their native language. The vegan movement is international but it should not only be confined to the English language.
In addition, I think it’s important to have a website translated into multiple languages, as it simplifies the approach to veganism and it makes people happy because they see that the effort is made to speak in their tongue. I thank the forty or so translators who collaborated to make this possible, I still miss many translated languages, so I call for your help in making HowManyVegans.com internationally friendly.
Naida: Truly is a clever idea! A lot of people like would benefit and be inspired by this. You mentioned that you are a vegan as well, how or why did you decide to go vegan? How does going vegan better your health?
Bénédict: Yes, I’ve been a Vegan for almost 3 years now (December 12, 2014). The outlook on my consumption changed. I was very “cautious” before becoming vegan (I was careful of what I ate but I had not asked the question of animal fate, I had never considered the fate of animals nor the planet) working in a restaurant I was exposed to a version of “healthy” and processed foods.
For lunch, the chef would normally serve cod skrei, and one evening when I watched a documentary on the consumption fish which really upset me. The suggestion videos on youtube also gave me further insights, somehow I lived the Vegan Challenge despite me (fork over knives, cowspiracy, black fish and earthlings). The most painful thing was that I was alone at that moment, I remember having spent the night and the following day crying with sorrow as it seemed to me to have lost a loved one, many in reality, Billions…
I do not actually know what affect it has had on my health only because I have developed a bigger appetite to which I had before (I always want to taste everything). But what has changed is that it has got me more interested in natural methods to prevent or cure minor health issues of everyday life. So I now know more about plants, and all foods of vegetable origins.
My physique hasn’t changed much, but the biggest change have been more spiritual, so to say. A feeling of enlightenment, tapping into this space of conscience, with no more guilt, feeling more alive and ready to face the future.
Naida: Spiritual enlightenment is a big deal for us, we’re happy for you! Can you tell us how many vegans are there in the world and is the number growing?
Bénédict: Actually, on the website, the statistics on the website is only gathered by people who state that they are vegans at their discretion, so we will never really know the exact figure. The website is still growing but is no way near it’s potential. There are also visitors who come across the site but do not register (as it involves leaving an email address) so the figure is still essentially unknown.
As consumers we’d be happy to give our emails to receive coupons etc but shy away from great and insightful initiatives like howmanyvegans.com, I find this rather disheartening but paradoxically encourages me to continue to promote the goodness of veganism.
Naida: We are hoping to encourage more vegans to add themselves in the website. If the whole world becomes vegan, wouldn’t the number of animals crucially increase?
Bénédict: Hypothetically speaking, should 50% of the population become vegan, the question of an increase in animal population should be brought to responsible authorities. For now, we can still observe a decrease in the craze for French animal products. We should remain aware that today, farm animals do not reproduce naturally, forcefully in fact and a lot of the killed, especially male newborns.
Naida: That’s so true and heartbreaking. What are your thoughts on global veganism? Would it be sustainable?
Bénédict: I am very enthusiastic about a vegan world and I think we may be slowly getting there. Even though it may seem idealistic in imaging this version utopia, I am happy in playing my part for now.
In addition to the site, I met and made friends with a lot of young people who are vegans; and for a lot of them veganism is not just a trend or temporary choice, it’s now a way of life.
Veganism promotes ethics and stability in human, animal empathy and one spiritual consciousness, compassion, freedom and justice being at the forefront of this sustainability.
Naida: We totally agree! Based on the number of people who registered, which country do you think we can consider as one of the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world?
Bénédict: Based on the people registered, the US by far stands at the top of the table, followed by England, Australia and some countries in Northern Europe. But this may be because of many reasons, such as easier internet access. I am currently collecting data from the database to get an exact country by country figure, which should give a more clearer overview.
Naida: How can we encourage vegans to sign up or register to your website?
Bénédict: First of all, I encourage everyone to open their minds and have a look at what’s going on in this connected global community. It is important to show authorities our growth, as this can positively influence on institutions like schools, hospitals, prisons. Not only focusing on food, but to better the management of our environmental resources. Registering on the site also helps to fight the mainstream idea that this is only fashion and will eventually fade.
Naida: How could the site evolve?
Bénédict: I am currently working on a database of vegan or vegan friendly businesses worldwide; which I hope will grow to be the world’s largest vegan directory. Sending a request to subscribers, ask for their views on their favourite vegan businesses; this would give people a know-how of where to consume vegan friendly products. Categories important to me, beyond the restaurant sector (happycow having already taken this mission) can be found on the site www.veganfriendly.co that I invite you to consult.
Naida: You are a beautiful, positive force in the world and I admire your spirit greatly! It was a pleasure having this talk with you and we wish your journey well.
Bénédict: Thank you so much and hope you have a lovely weekend!
Naida: And you, thank you!
I am 32 years old and I live in Paris in France, I work freelance as a consultant specialized in communication in the catering sector. I myself have worked as a manager in many restaurants. Shortly after becoming a vegan, I began to ask myself how many vegans there are worldwide, not only in France, where it’s rather recent.