The history of vegetarianism – from persecution to popularity

Vegetarianism, in Western cultures at least, is on the rise.

More people are choosing not to eat meat, although globally it is a much more opaque picture.

There is no doubt that in the West, adopting a vegetarian diet has been one of the top trends for the food industry to consider in recent years.

But the history of vegetarianism is anything but recent.

It goes all the way back to new ideas in ancient Greece, through persecution during the early Christian period, two world wars, right up to the present day.

So buckle up for a story with more twists than a spiralised courgette as we delve into the history of vegetarianism.

Richard McIlwain, Chief Executive, The Vegetarian Society UK

Richard is passionate about animal rights and the protection of our natural environment.

He was previously Deputy CEO at the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and also worked for the Environment Agency in a variety of front-line and management roles.

Vegetables and fruit impaled on a kebab stick moving from black and white to vibrant colours from left to right. Food stuffs from left to right: aubergine, green pepper, orange, disected red chilli pepper

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The history of vegetarianism – from persecution to popularity