There are more vegans in Britain than ever before, but what is veganism and why is it becoming more popular?


A vegan is someone who does not eat or use animal products.


Unlike a vegetarian diet - where people don't eat meat or fish - a vegan diet avoids all animal products like dairy, eggs and even honey as well as meat and fish.


Some people prefer to call this way of eating 'a plant-based diet'.


Following a vegan lifestyle also means only using or buying cosmetics and clothes free from animal products.


Research by the Vegan Society found the number of vegans in Great Britain increased from 150,000 in 2006 to 540,000 in 2016.


Many believe the number of people who call themselves vegans could now be in the millions.


Why has veganism become more popular?


Many celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and tennis ace Venus Williams are vegans, and they've talked publicly about it raising awareness.


There's also been a big rise in vegan cafes and restaurants meaning there's much more choice.


The 2018 series of The Great British Bake Off will be having a 'vegan week' to add to the regular challenges such as 'bread week'.


Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood told the BBC: "Veganism seems to be growing and we wanted to represent that."


What are the main reasons people go vegan?


There are many reasons people decide to go vegan. They include:


1. Animal Cruelty


Some people become vegan because they love animals and they think harming any animal is cruel.


For vegans, it's not just about animals which are killed for food, but also concerns about the way that cows and chickens used for dairy and eggs are treated, especially in big factory farms.


2. Environment


The United Nations says that farmed livestock accounts for 14.5% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions.


This is roughly equivalent to the exhaust emissions of every car, train, ship and aircraft on the planet.


Just one cow gives off enough harmful methane gas in a single day to fill around 400 litre bottles, which is really bad for the environment.


Another argument used for veganism is that meat and dairy production uses too much land.


3. Health


Some vegans say they stopped eating meat for health reasons, but some people worry about getting the right vitamins and minerals from a vegan diet.


The British Dietetic Association, which represents experts in nutrition, says that a "balanced vegan diet can be enjoyed by children and adults".


However, it also says it is important to plan meals to make sure that it includes enough nutrients.