Dozens of vegans - and plenty of people ready to give up meat - browsed Oxford Vegan Market in the Town Hall on Sunday.

Stalls selling vegan street food, artisan baked goods and craft beers sat alongside ethical jewellers, local artists, zero-waste champions and environmental charities.

Owain Mier, co-owner of Riverford Organic, a UK-wide organic vegetable box delivery company, said business was booming as more and more people, especially young people, were keen to become vegan.

“It’s become more popular for sure,” he said. “Without a shadow of a doubt. I’m personally not vegan but I predominantly eat vegetables and although I eat milk and eggs the eggs are always ethically sourced and organic.”

Student Sina Wollrath, who was visiting a friend from Germany, has been vegan for eight years, and says she eats a lot of veg and cereal.

“A lot of students are going vegan now,” she said. “When I went vegan because of health issues there was nothing, now it’s much easier as vegan is available in all the high street supermarkets.

“Years ago I was seen as strange, people used to say, oh no, I’ve got nothing to give you – here, have some salad.”

The basic definition of a vegan is a person who never consumes meat, dairy or animal food or drink products.

An 'ethical vegan' also never buys or use products containing animal-derived ingredients or that have been tested on animals or which cause (direct or indirect) harm to animals.

Although it is hard to define, an Ipsos Mori survey undertaken for the Vegan Society found there were now around 600,000 vegans in the UK while 7.2 million British adults currently follow a meat-free diet.

Gabriele Livingstone, of Hempen and Organic, has found her organic hemp and CBD is hugely popular with women over 35 and could help with pain relief, aid relaxation and insomnia.

“Oh yes,” she said, “veganism has gone mainstream.”

Meanwhile mother and daughter Jessica and Michaela Howkins, of Oxford Vegan Cakes based in Headington, have only recently started the business and said it was their first market.

Jessica, who went vegan 18 months ago and has lost weight as a result, said: “We specialise in wedding cakes. They are not gluten-free but it’s actually very difficult to make a vegan cake – the slightest change in temperature will affect it.”

Lewis Beresford, the Vegan Market Co founder, said: “We are so excited to be back in Oxford. We work hard to find the country’s leading vegan producers, from street food vendors and bakers to ethical clothing and cosmetic producers.

“We also work with many local businesses and can’t wait to give all of these fantastic producers the platform they deserve and introduce them to the wonderful people of Oxford!”

The market adds it is ‘proud’ to be tackling the climate crisis by promoting sustainable lifestyle choices, as well as supporting tree planting and conservation projects.

According to the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK has increased by 445,428 people (40 per cent) over the past 12 months.