Despite the growing availability of plant-based alternatives and the rise of vegan and vegetarian options in supermarkets and restaurants, the share of Americans adopting plant-based diets has not seen a significant increase, according to a recent Gallup poll released on Thursday.
Steady or Slightly Decreasing Numbers
While it might seem that the increasing presence of vegan patties in stores and eateries is indicative of a rising trend in plant-based diets, the poll reveals a different reality. The percentage of US adults identifying as vegetarian has remained consistent, and in fact, slightly declined from around 6 percent in 1999 to 4 percent at present. Additionally, the percentage of those identifying as vegans has dropped from approximately 3 percent in 2018 to 1 percent today.
The findings of the Gallup poll challenge conventional assumptions about the growth of plant-based diets in the United States. Despite the proliferation of plant-based meat substitutes and high-profile celebrities adopting vegetarian or vegan diets, the proportion of Americans who have chosen to avoid meat has not shown significant growth over recent years.
Plant-Based Foods and Celebrities
The popularity of plant-based foods like substitute meat burgers and sausages has surged with companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods gaining traction. High-profile celebrities, including Billie Eilish, Woody Harrelson, and Joaquin Phoenix, have also embraced plant-based diets, contributing to the perception of a larger trend.
Health and Environmental Reasons
Many individuals who choose a plant-based diet cite health and environmental reasons. Plant-based diets have been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, the negative environmental impact of cattle farming for meat and dairy products, including greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, has prompted some to adopt plant-based diets to reduce their carbon footprint.
Political and Gender Differences
The Gallup poll highlights certain demographic and political variations in diet choices. Liberals are more likely to identify as vegetarian (9 percent) compared to conservatives (3 percent). Similarly, women (6 percent) are more likely to opt for plant-based diets compared to men (2 percent). Additionally, individuals with lower incomes are more likely to adopt vegetarianism compared to those earning over $100,000 annually.
Despite the increasing availability of plant-based options and the attention garnered by celebrities and environmental concerns, the adoption of plant-based diets among Americans remains relatively stable. While plant-based foods and diets are becoming more mainstream, the percentage of individuals fully embracing vegetarian or vegan lifestyles remains below 5 percent, signaling that a significant portion of the population has yet to make the switch to these dietary choices.