WITH the switch to vegan and plant-based living on the rise in the UK, Wyre Forest has been playing its part in promoting the change.

According to The Vegan Society, there are roughly around 34,000 vegans in the West Midlands following a study in 2018, a number which has doubled since 2016.

One group that have been working to raise the profile of the lifestyle in the community is the Wyre Forest Vegans.

The group, which was set up in 2013, have over 500 Facebook members and are determined to project a “friendly” vegan message.

Ledbury Reporter:

They regularly discuss the benefits to an animal-free diet at stall events in an “accessible” way, and recently talked at a primary school.

Group member Ronnie Lee, aged 68, said: “We give explanations for people in how they can live their life.

“We encourage people to try different dairy-free alternatives. Our approach is about the animals. Each animal is valuable.”

The group highlighted that according to a 2018 Compare the Market survey 7 per cent of the UK population are vegan, which could equate to around 7,000 people in Wyre Forest.

Ronnie added: “People want to try vegan products, take away information, ask questions. It really is on the rise and this is something we are delighted about and we want to encourage that and see it increase even more.”

Ledbury Reporter:

Group member Adam Jastrazabek said: “Most people don’t set off in veganism. The education is fundamental. There is a major importance of local groups. When something is done nationally, it doesn’t have a personal feel. It’s all to do with information and education.”

Mike says that what they promote is not “anti-farming”, but that “if society are asking for something different, farmers have to change” in line with new demands.

The group have also highlighted the benefits of supermarkets and restaurant chains introducing more vegan options, praising Sainsburys’ range of food products.

Adam added: “This is what we have dreamed of 30 to 40 years ago. Supermarkets are listening to people. This is where the future is going to be, and they know it.”

Ledbury Reporter:

More information on the rise of veganism in the UK can be found via vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics