This week a new poll came out that was taken by Gallup. They conducted a poll to see how many vegetarians and vegans there are in the U.S. They last conducted the poll in 2012, and before that they conducted it in 2001, and in 1999. I thought the results of this poll regarding how many vegetarians and vegans there are was quite interesting!
Have you noticed lately that veganism is everywhere? I mean like, everywhere. Videos, books, events, and products. My goodness, the number of vegan products available is incredible now. When I first started eating this way 23 years ago it was difficult to find products. For example, I could only find plant based milk at the health food store. And there was maybe three varieties, all of which where shelf stable. Fast forward to the last few years and there's literally a vegan food explosion going on! Sales are through the roof. There are so many plant based milk options (and at mainstream grocery stores) that I don't know which ones to buy. Meat and dairy companies even see the trend and are investing in plant based foods. I mean, it seems as if there's a serious vegan revolution going on!
Or at least that's what I thought. Until I read the Gallup poll results. Sigh.
According to their poll results, vegetarians make up 5% of the population, which is unchanged since the last time they conducted the poll in 2012. And during the two prior times they took it the number was 6%. This year's poll results showed that vegans make up 3% of the population, compared to 2% in 2012. Wow, so we have what seems like a vegan revolution going on here and the dent that it made was a 1% increase in the number of vegans. That's not impressive. At that rate it will take another 125 years before 25% of the population is vegan.
Other interesting pieces of information that came from their poll include:
- That 1 in 10 liberals are vegetarian and 5% are vegan, compared to 3% of moderates, and 2% of conservatives.
- Vegetarians and vegans tend to have lower incomes, with most of them earning less than $30,000 per year.
- The older we get, the less likely we are to go vegetarian or vegan.
Well, I guess I fall into the minority category, and that's okay. I earn more and I'm a conservative.
While I was disappointed to see that the number of vegetarians and vegans is virtually unchanged in the last six years, despite the vegan revolution that appears to be going on, there was a bright side. They report that the sale of plant based foods is is over $3 billion. Every time people opt for plant based foods they are not consuming meat, so that's a win-win, even if they never make the commitment to vegetarianism or veganism. I celebrate the positive changes people make and realize that most people will never completely go vegetarian or vegan. But if they reduce their meat consumption it's still a positive move. As more meat eaters open up to the idea of trying plant based foods it also makes them more widely available for those of us who are vegetarian and vegan. This is why mainstream grocery stores are now carrying a wide variety of plant based options. It's not for the tiny percentage of vegans and vegetarians, it's because meat eaters are willing to eat the products, too. I think Gallup summed it up best:
"...it appears Americans are eager to include alternatives to animal products in their diets but are not willing to give up animal products completely."
See the poll here.