Between the years 2008 and 2011, just 6.7 per cent of Britons reported eating plant-based alternatives to traditional foods, such as oat milk, vegan sausages and Quorn mince.
Twice this proportion of people (13.1 per cent) ate these foods between 2017 and 2019 and, as a result, the total amount of plant-based foods consumed has more than doubled.
The increase is not down solely to a surge in veganism, but to meat-eaters cutting back on their consumption, and making the occasional decision to shun animal products.
However, those considered to be low meat consumers were found to consume, on average, four times as much plant-based product than “high meat” people, chowing down 18.6 grams a day compared to 4.8 grams.
Studies also show that eating a herbivorous diet can have negative health implications if people are not consciously replacing nutrients and minerals that they would get through meat or meat-derived products.
For example, Canadian research found that children raised on a vegetarian diet are twice as likely to be underweight than their meat-eating friends.
Researchers found that nutritionally, there was no discernable difference in the growth of children who were vegetarians and those who did eat animal-derived foods.
However, Dr Maguire did find there was a link between vegetarianism and being underweight.
University of Leeds scientists found that vegetarian middle-aged women are more likely to break a hip than their omnivorous peers.
Vegetarians can struggle to get enough nutrients into their body which can lead to weaker muscles and bones, and the new study shows women are a third more at-risk of breaking a hip if they are vegetarian.