100 million Americans eating more plant-based—Harris Study


Americans are consuming less beef, pork, fish, poultry and milk.

A recent Harris Interactive study (See link below), released December 2011, reports that in addition to self-described vegetarians, roughly “one third of the country are eating vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time.” It clarified that:

Seventeen percent of Americans stated that they “don’t eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at many of my meals (but less than half the time)” and 16% don’t eat these foods at more than half of their meals (but not all the time). (Total is 33% or 1/3)

Once again, the study only focussed on what people weren’t eating—and didn’t ask any questions about exactly what they were eating. Were they eating mostly processed foods, white pasta and potato chips? Or were they eating more whole, plant-based foods. My guess is that most of the increase in plant-based eating consisted of highly-processed carbohydrates and fake meats that delivered most of the calories for all of those trendy new “Meatless Monday” and “Tofurkey Tuesdays.”

Egg consumption in USA has been declining for six years.

But the good news is that people are definitely beginning to consume less meat, eggs and dairy. An article in the Huffington post (3-7-12) reported the following news on that front:

Meat & Poultry. According to USDA forecasts, the average American will consume 12.2% less meat and poultry in 2012 than they did in 2007. Beef consumption has been in decline for about 20 years; the drop in poultry and pork has also been steady for about five years. And this phenomenon is not limited to meat.

Milk consumption in sharp decline since 1994.

Eggs & cow’s milk. USDA statistics reveal that per capita egg consumption in the U.S. has been steadily declining for the past six years and average per-capita consumption of cow’s milk fell from 24.3 gallons per person in 1994 to 20.8 gallons per person in 2008. At the same time, total retail sales of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and other plant milks reached $1.33 billion in 2011.

If you don’t think the growing market for plant-based foods has anything to do with these declining statistics, ask the multi-billion dollar dairy industry! They took the trouble to recently launch an entire ad campaign attacking plant milks.

How are all those new vegetarians doing on the 4Leaf Program?

So how many vegetarians and vegans are there in the U.S.? The Huffington Post article reported on information supplied by the Vegetarian Resource Group the following statistics:

  • Vegetarians — 16 million, 5% of the population
  • Vegans — 8 million (of the above group), 2.5 percent of the population
  • The vegan population in the U.S. has doubled since 2009.

The This means that 7.5 million people in the U.S. now eat diets that do not include any animal products. The study also revealed that 33% of Americans are eating vegan/vegetarian meals more often, though they are not vegan or vegetarian. That is over 100 million people, or one third of the country consciously choosing more plant-based foods!

All of this sounds great and I am glad to see this positive change beginning to happen. But I still want to know what people ARE eating. We know what they’re avoiding, but we’re not sure about the content of all those new vegetarian and vegan meals. If you’d also like to find out what people are eating, ask your friends and family to take our 4Leaf Survey.

It will take less than five minutes and will deliver an approximation of the percentage of their calories are being derived from whole plant-based foods. More importantly, it will also provide precise clarity in terms of “exactly” what is needed to improve their score that will lead to an improvement in their health.

Introducing our 4Leaf Survey (12 questions, 5 minutes)

The 4Leaf Chart for your refrigerator

Tips for Success with 4Leaf — the Why and the How

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Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen. Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com.

Harris Interactive Study: How many adults are vegan in the U.S.?

Huffington Post article: Nil Zacharias: Is There a Market for Vegan Food?.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Blogging today from the beautiful shores of Lake Martin in the great state of Alabama. – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

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J. Morris Hicks -- Member of the Board of Directors -- Click image to visit the foundation website.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to 100 million Americans eating more plant-based—Harris Study

  1. Alexandra says:

    Ask President Obama to do the right thing and safeguard America’s 31 million school children and uninformed adults with a moral executive order that bans further unethical government subsidizes of outmoded agriculture techniques that are knowingly toxic to the environment polluting our oceans, atmosphere and waterways, and addictive and posionous to people. Enough’s enough, people deserve to be safeguarded from multi-billion dollar corporations. Nations in an urgent appeal to ease globalwide climatic emergencies and related dire consequences such as clean water shortages and pandemics with support a global dietary shift away from toxic meat and dairy products to sustainable organic fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

  2. I wonder about these numbers? Have the fat statistics changed?

    The fat content of my gym class is still about 80%.

    Business at my local Italian deli is booming and they don’t sell raw broccoli. My Chinese takeout sells ten times more beef, pork, chicken, than broccoli.

    And of these 16 million vegetarians, where are they hiding? I don’t know of one in my area of NYC. In fact, Jim, you are the only vegetarian I know. I’m sure there are others.

    I guess the ultimate proof of change would be how many vegetarian restaurants there are in comparison to Chinese and Italian restaurants. And even the existing vegetarians restaurants need to change — No Oil!

    Sal Liggieri

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