'Veganism's popularity due to money' - Heather Mills
Daniel Harries

It's World Vegan Day and one of the movements most famous supporters Heather Mills tells CGTN the industry owes it's success to the financial backing from meat and dairy companies keen to limit their exposure to the drop in demand for their products.

Mills, a television personality who now runs her own vegan produce company, believes investment is key to the diet's success. 

"Now the only reason it's huge is unfortunately because of money.

"Since the big sales went through on some of the major vegan companies, the meat and dairy industry has finally embraced it," Mills said to CGTN. 

Earlier this year Europe's leading food company Vivera sold meat producers Enkco. Instead it will focus on plant-based companies in it's portfolio - including Dutch Tofu company, one of the largest producers of plant-based products in Europe. 

The trend is increasingly popular in Western Europe.

In the UK alone, the number of vegans increased some 700 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a study carried out by comparethemarket.com. 

France has seen the sale of vegetarian and vegan food rise by 24 percent from 2018 to 2019. A study by Vitabiotics showed that around half of all Irish people were open to adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet on ethical or environmental grounds, while 30 percent of young Swedes are already eating more plant-based food to reduce their environmental footprint, according to a study by Ernst & Young. 

Despite it's growing popularity Mills would like to see more people switch over. How will that be achieved? Replace "like for like" says Mills. 

"The mistake that people make is people don't think vegans like the taste of fish, meat and dairy - we love the taste of it we just don't want to hurt animals or the environment.

"The fastest way is to replace like for like, so whatever product is your biggest seller, if you're a company, if you're feeding someone - you want a spaghetti Bolognese, you get a vegan spaghetti Bolognese and so on and so on.

"And that's the fastest way we've converted people."