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Which cities are the most vegan-friendly in the UK?

Photo credit: Alena Veasey / Shutterstock

According to research, 12 million Brits – around 23% of the population – say that they will be vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian by 2021, with the number of people claiming to be vegan soaring by 62% in 2019.

As more and more people pledge to become veggie, we sought to investigate which city in the UK is the most vegan-friendly? To find out, energy switching site SaveOnEnergy created their very own Vegan Index.

The Vegan Index

Just like our Eco-Rate Index looking into the UK’s most eco-friendly high streets, our Vegan Index takes into account a variety of different factors which, once combined, creates one overall score for each city. We ranked each factor between 1 and 30 – 30 being the best. The higher the score, the more vegan-friendly the city is, and the best for vegans to live.

We investigated the following for each UK city studied:

  • The number of vegan-friendly restaurants

  • The number of organic health food shops

  • The number of vegan supplement stores

  • The number of vegan-related searches per month, and how many are made per 1,000 of the city’s population

The results:

The most vegan-friendly cities in the UK

1. Bristol – 133 points

Bristol is the most vegan-friendly city in the UK, scoring an impressive 133 points in our Vegan Index. With 197 vegan-friendly eateries, 18 organic health food shops, and 14 supplement stores, this south western city is an ideal location for vegans to reside in the UK.

When analysing vegan-related searches on Google, we found that Bristolians make a whopping 2,350 searches each month, on average – the second highest of all 30 cities studied. After comparing this number to the population of Bristol, this equates to around 3.43 ‘vegan’ searches per 1,000 people each month – the most of all UK cities considered in our study.

2. London – 120 points

London is the second most vegan-friendly city in the UK according to our Vegan Index, with a score of 120. England’s capital is home to a staggering 286 vegan-friendly restaurants, 19 organic health shops, and 48 supplement stores – the most for each factor studied in our index.

When it comes to vegan-related searches, London took the lead again with 24,520 searches per month, on average – 22,170 more than Bristol in second place! However, when compared to the city’s population, this equates to just 0.0000026 searches per 1,000 Londoners – the least of all cities studied.

3. Edinburgh – 113 points

Not only is Edinburgh the third most vegan-friendly city in the UK, it’s also the most vegan-friendly city in Scotland after being awarded 113 points in our Vegan Index. Our analysis found that the city has 185 vegan-friendly eateries, 16 organic health food shops, and 12 supplement stores, making the Scottish city one of the best places to reside if you’re vegan in the UK.

It seems the city is home to several vegans, with vegan-related Google searches amassing 1,630 per month, on average. When compared to the city’s population, this equates to around 3.04 searches per 1,000 Edinburgh residents – the second highest of all 30 cities studied.

4. Belfast and Birmingham– 108 points

Belfast and Birmingham rank as the fourth most vegan-friendly cities in the UK, with both cities being awarded a total of 108 points each in our Vegan Index.

Residents in Belfast have the most organic health shops of all cities studied (19), the third-highest number of vegan supplement stores (15) and is home to 198 vegan-friendly eateries. However, residents in the Northern Irish city make just 630 vegan-related searches per month, which equates to 1 search per 1,000 people (the tenth worst).

By comparison, Birmingham, is home to 18 more vegan eateries when compared to Belfast (216 in total), 18 organic health shops, and 11 supplement stores. Despite Brummies making 1,910 searches for vegan-related terms each month – the third highest number of all cities analysed – when compared to Belfast, the city fairs badly as they make just 0.73 ‘vegan’ searches per 1,000 people. This figure is among the five worst of all 31 cities studied.

5. Aberdeen – 100 points

Following closely behind in fifth is the city of Aberdeen – the second Scottish city in the top five – with a score of 100 points in our study. The city is home to an impressive 226 vegan-friendly eateries (the second highest following London), 16 organic health shops, and 11 supplement stores.

The Scottish city makes an average of 420 vegan-relates searches per month which, when compared to the population of Aberdeen, equates to around 1.73 searches per 1,000 people. This makes Aberdeen the fifth city most interested in veganism of all 30 cities studied.

Find out how your diet and lifestyle is affecting the environment with this carbon offsetting calculator.

Photo credit: phaustov / Shutterstock

The least vegan-friendly cities in the UK

1. Bradford – 19 points

Coming in last place is Bradford with a total score of 19, making this city the least vegan-friendly of all 30 cities studied in the UK. Despite having 129 vegan-friendly eateries in the vicinity, Bradford only has 10 organic health shops, and just seven supplement stores which pushes them down the rankings in our Vegan Index.

When it comes to vegan-related Google searches, Bradford make the second-least each month (310), which equates to around 0.58 searches per 1,000 people, on average.

2. Southampton – 39 points

With a total score of 39 in our Vegan Index is Southampton, ranking as the second least vegan-friendly city in the UK. If you’re vegan and travelling to England’s south coast you may want to think twice about visiting this city, as Southampton has just 88 vegan-friendly restaurants – the least of all cities studied. The city is also home to 16 organic health shops and just 10 supplement stores, among the lowest of all cities studied.

When analysing vegan-related searches, Southampton residents make 430 per month, on average. When compared to the city’s population size, this equates to just 0.46 searches per 1,000 people – the second lowest, after London.

3. Luton – 46 points

Home to 111 vegan-friendly restaurants, 17 organic health shops, and nine supplement stores, Luton ranks as the third least vegan-friendly city, scoring just 46 points in our Vegan Index.

Luton residents make just 230 vegan-related searches per month – the least of all 30 cities studied – a staggering 24,290 less searches than London in first place. When compared to the population of Luton, this equates to around 1.03 searches per 1,000 people – one of the lowest of all cities studied.

4. Reading – 51 points

The fourth least vegan-friendly city in the UK is Reading, racking up a score of 51 points in our Vegan Index. The city has one of the lowest number of eateries suitable for vegans, 16 organic health shops, and just eight supplement stores.

Combined with just 500 vegan-related searches each month, on average, it’s unsurprising that Reading ranks so poorly in our study. In fact, when compared to the city’s population, this means that there are 1.46 searches made per 1,000 people.

5. Wolverhampton – 52 points

Earning 52 points in our Vegan Index is the city of Wolverhampton, thus ranking as one of the worst vegan-friendly cities in the UK. When looking for somewhere to eat, vegans may struggle when compared to other cities, as the West Midlands city is home to just 99 vegan-friendly restaurants – 197 less than London. The city is also home to one of the least organic health shops (13) and supplement stores (10).

After analysing Google searches for ‘vegan’ terms, we found that residents of Wolverhampton make just 410 searches each month on average which, when compared to the population of Wolverhampton, equates to around 1.6 searches per 1,000 people.

Cities with the most and least…

Vegan-friendly restaurants

London is home to the most vegan-friendly restaurants, with an impressive 286 eateries found in the English capital. Following closely behind in second is the Scottish city of

Aberdeen with 226 restaurants found, and Bolton comes in third with 223. On the other end of the scale is Southampton, with just 88 vegan-friendly restaurants – a whopping 198 less than London in first place. Northampton and Reading come next, with 92 vegan restaurants found in each city, and Wolverhampton follows with 99.

Organic health food shops

The capital of England and Northern Ireland take the top spot, with both having the most organic health food shops of all cities studied – 19 in total. Following closely behind with one less organic health food shops are Bristol, Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, and Kingston-Upon-Hull (18).

Bradford have the least organic health food shops of all 30 cities studied in the UK, with just 10. Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent rank in second and third place, with 13 and 14 organic food shops, respectively.

Supplement stores

London takes the top spot for the most supplement stores of all 31 cities analysed around the UK, with an impressive 48! Trailing behind in second with 26 less than London is the Scottish city of Glasgow with 22 supplement stores, and Belfast falls in third with 15.

Plymouth, Bolton, and Derby can be found at the other end of the scale, with three, four and five supplement stores found in each city, respectively.

Vegan-related searches per month

We analysed the number of vegan-related searches made in each city, to find out which areas of the UK search for ‘vegan’ terms the most.

Once again London takes the crown, with Londoners making a whopping 24,520 searches per month, on average – 22,170 more than Bristolians in second place (2,350). Birmingham comes in third with an average of 1,910 vegan-related searches per month.

According to our analysis, residents in Luton make 230 vegan-related searches per month – the least of all 30 cities studied. Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent also feature at the bottom of the list, with just 310 and 340 searches, respectively.

Vegan-related searches per 1,000 people

After identifying how many ‘vegan’ searches were made per month in each city, we sought to find out how many searches are made per 1,000 people in each city’s population.

Our analysis found that the city of Bristol came in first place with 3.43 searches per 1,000 people. The south-western city was closely followed by the Scottish city of Edinburgh with 3.04 searches. Bolton came in third with exactly two searches per 1,000 people.

Despite London making the most vegan-related searches (24,520), when compared to the city’s large population size, only 0.0000026 searches are made per 1,000 people each month, on average – the least of all cities we studied in our Vegan Index. Following behind London is Southampton with 0.46 searches, and Bradford and Manchester are next with 0.58 searches per 1,000 people.

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Methodology:

To create the vegan-friendly index, SaveOnEnergy.com looked at the number of each of the following categories:

  1. Vegan-friendly restaurants

  2. Organic health food shops

  3. Vegan supplement stores

  4. Total 'vegan' monthly search volumes

  5. Searches per 1,000 population

Firstly, we calculated the number of vegan-friendly restaurants within a five-mile radius of each city centre, using Google maps.

To find the health/organic food shops, we used two tools – Google maps and Mapdevelopers.com to make sure that all selected were within a five-mile radius. This was also used to track the number of ‘health supplement stores’.

We used Ahrefs.com to uncover the number of ‘vegan’ monthly search volumes, and the same rules applied when finding the ‘searches per 1,000 of the population’.

We then ranked the cities in order of number of vegan-friendly restaurants, health/organic food shops, health supplement stores, number of search volumes, and search volumes per 1,000 of the population. Each factor was ranked from 1 to 30, with 1 being the lowest scoring city and 30 being the highest scoring city.