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.”
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.
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.
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)
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harris Interactive Study: How many adults are vegan in the U.S.?
Huffington Post article: Nil Zacharias: Is There a Market for Vegan Food?.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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