The 10 Most Vegan Countries in Europe

Vegan foodPeople enjoying vegan food. Photo: Doyoun Seo / Unsplash

The 10 Most Vegan Cities and Countries in Europe

Unlike many other trendy diets and food trends, veganism is not a fad – it is here to stay. The popularity of veganism has shot through the roof over the past few years, so much so that the plant-based lifestyle is now considered to have gone mainstream.


Chef’s Pencil has analyzed the rise of veganism world-wide through the lens of Google Trends, a reliable big data provider. Google Trends lets you analyze the popularity of various search categories around the world such as veganism, which comprises vegan-related searches made in any language (e.g. “veganism”, “vegan restaurants”, “vegane rezepte”, “vegan essen”).

While some of these searches are made out of curiosity, a high volume of vegan-related searches, such as vegan recipes or vegan restaurants near me, show a clear adoption or intent to adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Google Trends data confirms that veganism is growing fast. 2018 was a record year for veganism searches, up 11% in 2017, and 35% in 2016.

Google allocates an interest score to each location, showing the level of interest in the topic at that location. For example, if Sweden holds an 84 score for veganism and Germany holds a 60 score, it means that a higher percentage of people in Sweden have made vegan-related searches compared to Germany.

We’re going to take a look at the most popular places for veganism in Europe in 2018, and surprisingly the top ten is dominated by countries in the North.

Most Vegan European Countries in 2018

1. United Kingdom

Vegan Popularity Score: 98

There may be some dispute about the number of vegans in the United Kingdom, but even the lower figure means a four-fold rise in four years. The people of the UK have so embraced veganism that UK cities dominate the European top 10, with six cities taking the prime spots. So popular is it, the top high street bakery, Greggs, brought out a vegan sausage roll – a popular pastry snack. And to show just how much the Brits love it, when a prime TV host ridiculed Gregg’s vegan offering, he sparked a Twitter war and its sales rocketed.

2. Sweden

Vegan Popularity Score: 84

A whopping one in 10 Swedes now identify as vegetarian or vegan, according to Animal Rights Sweden, so it should be no surprise that as much as half the population say they would like to try out veganism, according to a report published by the Nordic Council of Ministers. And while Sweden’s food producers are taking a lead in vegan food innovation, the McFalafel is now competing for attention at McDonald’s restaurants in the country.

3. Ireland

Vegan Popularity Score: 62

“The Vegans Have Landed” claimed the Irish Times in 2018. And as the number continues to rise, the Irish Food Board is desperate to find out how to embrace people’s changing dietary choices. The Board estimates that 2% of the Irish population is now vegan and 8% vegetarian, numbers that can only rise with celebrities, sports people and even politicians endorsing the message to drop meat eating.

4. Austria

Vegan Popularity Score: 60

Almost every town worth its salt in Austria has at least one vegan and vegetarian restaurant, and then Vienna hosts over 230. While the Vegan Society of Austria says the number of vegans is unclear, the combined number of vegans and vegetarians is around 5.7%, according to the survey, not a bad number for a country famous for the Schnitzel. And the lifestyle is clearly popular as the country hosts the Veganmania Summer Festival, one of the largest vegan festivals in Europe.

5. Germany

Vegan Popularity Score: 59

Think Germany, think meat. Perhaps not for long. A new study from Mintel finds that Germany accounted for 18% of those who took up veganism in Europe in the past year, taking the total to an impressive 1.2 million vegans, according to vebu.de, and the number is rising daily. Not only are they producing meat-free bratwurst, but they are also stepping up their vegan footwear production with a 131% increase last year, according to a report by Footwear News.

6. Finland

Vegan Popularity Score: 57

The Christmas season saw a boom in vegan meat sales across Finland last year, and that in a country that had a virtual love affair with meat. A public health crisis put paid to that and veganism has now taken a grip, with new restaurants opening up all over and even a speciality store, the Vegekauppa, in some cities. Just to confirm the country’s turn to the plant-based diet, McDonald’s chose it to launch its McVegan burger that has now been rolled out across Europe.

7. Denmark

Vegan Popularity Score: 55

Another challenge to the Nordic love of meat comes from Denmark. Happycow says eating vegan is a constant challenge and that’s not surprising with just 499 vegan restaurants for a population of 5.77, million. But perhaps things are changing – two vegan burgers tied for first place in Denmark’s Best Burger competition, shocking the nation. And while the new “Quit Meat” helpline is busy easing meat lovers into a healthier diet, Danes are clearly looking beyond diet and embracing the full vegan lifestyle since, according to Fashion United UK, there’s been a 320% increase in vegan products.

8. Switzerland

Vegan Popularity Score: 53

With the most expensive meat in Europe, Perhaps it’s not surprising that Switzerland comes in at number 8. Although not everyone vegan wins in the popularity stakes. One Dutch woman found this out when her neighbours voted her “too annoying” to get Swiss citizenship because of her vocal defence of animals. (see independent link below). Still, the big Swiss food producers Nestle are more accommodating – they are pushing into the booming vegan market, along with Coop and Migros, two major supermarket chains, who are expanding their vegan produce to cater for the 3% of the population that are vegan, according to Swiss Veg.

9. Norway

Vegan Popularity Score: 47

According to Norwegian food blogger Sunny Gandara, the number of vegans in the country shot up 80% in six years. It seems there’s been a seismic shift across the nation with a 60% increase in plant-based food sales at Menys and a massive 95% at Coop. Not only that, the government has announced it is shutting down the fur industry by 2025 – making an economic commitment to plant-based living. But the restaurants still need to catch up as it can be still quite difficult to find vegan and vegetarian options outside the main cities

10. Netherlands

Vegan Popularity Score: 46

An impressive 30% of Dutch people have cut down on their meat intake last year, according to research from Nu. And while most of them cited environmental concerns, the vegans among them followed a plant-based diet because of their concerns about animal welfare. The annual National Week Without Meat, which started just last year, is due to be held again this March to encourage more Dutch citizens to drop the meat-eating habit. Together with the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure advising a national diet of 60% plant-based protein by 2030, the vegan trend can only keep climbing.

Most Vegan European Cities in 2018

1. Bristol

Vegan Popularity Score: 100

2017 World-wide Ranking: 2nd

Known for many years for its alternative living, Bristol rightly takes the top spot for interest in veganism in Europe, supplying not only vegan eating but its very own Vegan Community.

2. Edinburgh

Vegan Popularity Score: 75

2017 World-wide ranking: 7th

Top in Scotland, second in Europe, Edinburgh’s keen vegan activists and a plethora of vegan eateries makes it easy to be vegan.

3. Manchester

Vegan Popularity Score: 67

2017 World-wide ranking: 12th

Birthplace of the Vegetarian Society and now a vegan festival and conference, is helping make veganism more and more popular in Manchester, even attracting Pret a Manger to open up a Veggie Pret – the first outside London.

4. London

Vegan Popularity Score: 66

2017 World-wide ranking: 13th

Perhaps London only comes in 4th position in vegan interest because the city already is a vegan mecca. It took the number one position of Happy cows’ vegan-friendly cities worldwide this year.

5. Glasgow

Vegan Popularity Score: 66

2017 World-wide ranking: 7th

The population of Glasgow, with the highest number of vegans in the UK, according to recipe box service, has clearly been busy finding out more about the meat-free diet.

6. Gothenburg

Vegan Popularity Score:

2017 World-wide ranking:

In a city aiming to be the most progressive for addressing climate and environmental problems, the plant-based lifestyle has clearly piqued the interest of many of its citizens.

7. Stockholm

Vegan Popularity Score:

2017 World-wide ranking:

The very respectable vegan scene in Stockholm has every kind of vegan restaurant, and supermarkets stocking vegan products.

8. Berlin

Vegan Popularity Score:

2017 World-wide ranking:

With 600 restaurants, cafes, snack bars and shops, according to HappyCow, it’s no wonder Berliners are turning to Google to help with them choose.

9. Liverpool

Vegan Popularity Score:

2017 World-wide ranking:

The people of Liverpool don’t do things by halves, and that’s clearly true about their interest in vegan living.

10. Amsterdam

Vegan Popularity Score:

2017 World-wide ranking: 34th

In 2018 Amsterdam jumped 10 places on the previous year, probably helped by the four vegan festivals in the city last summer.

Most Vegan Cities in Norway in 2018

Although it didn’t make the top 10, there is still plenty of interest in all things vegan in Norway. Comparing the interest in veganism in Norway, Google Trends gave us the following four top cities.

Trondheim

Vegan Popularity Score: 100

The top city for veganism in Norway, Trondheim, has truly embraced the vegan lifestyle. With plenty of vegan restaurants – and even meat-serving venues offering vegan choices – vegan bakeries, vegan shops, like Ettiken, and health food stores, Trondheim has plenty for the eager vegan. There’s even a people’s kitchen, Trondheim Folkekjøkken, where all the food is free, you just need to offer to do the washing or help make the food! And bringing all this diversity together with activist organisations is the annual vegan fair, due to be held again this May.

Stavanger

Vegan Popularity Score: 96

Hosting Scandinavia’s largest food festival, Stavanger clearly has a love of all things culinary and that includes the plant-based diet. The city has plenty to offer the vegan eater if they look around – Ethiopian cuisine, vegan pizza, vegan burgers and plenty to choose from at an international supermarket and a delicatessen. And at the end of August this year, Stavanger showcases its love of plant-based living with the Vegan Weekend, a free event bringing international speakers for cooking courses and lectures showing how easy it is to go meat-free.

Nesodden

Vegan Popularity Score: 88

Across the fjord from Oslo lies the municipality of Nesodden. This is an area rich history and has plenty of museums to show it off. But its inhabitants are clearly looking to the future with their interest in the modern plant-based diet. But with little more than the famous Hellviktangen café and restaurant that provides vegan options – though not desserts! – the catering industry might want to take note.

Oslo

Vegan Popularity Score: 87

Oslo is the home of EAT, a foundation committed to creating a sustainable global food system. Working with The Lancet, the scholarly health journal, they recently published a report saying people will have to cut their meat and dairy intake by a whopping 90% to avert climate change. No wonder the people of Oslo are checking out all things vegan. There are plenty of vegan and vegan-friendly establishments serving plant-based cuisine from Asia to Mexico, from the Middle East to Italy – a truly international spread…

Bergen

Vegan Popularity Score: 84

Bergen may have come in fourth in the Google search data, but it certainly provides a veritable smörgasbord of vegan-friendly choices, despite being a city built on the fish industry. It seems almost every eating establishment offers vegan choices and you can even eat vegan, drink vegan, chill with some yoga and party in a night club, all in one spot, Dwell.



This article is written by Corina Onet, Corina is an enthusiastic fashion lover, foodie and traveller. She’s a writer for Chef’s Pencil.

© Corina Onet / #Norway Today

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