5 interesting facts about plant foods

People may discuss whether everyone is healthy on a vegan diet, but no one discusses the fact that the market for vegan products is skyrocketing. Although vegans make up only 2,5% of the US population (twice as many as in 2009), what is very interesting is that 100 million people (approximately 33% of the US population) have become more likely to eat vegan/vegetarian food more often without being vegetarians.

But what exactly do they eat? Soy sausage or kale? What do they think of unspecified sugar desserts and test tube meats? A new study by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) aims to answer these questions.

The WWG commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a national telephone survey of a 2030 representative sample of respondents, including vegans, vegetarians and people interested in vegetarian food. Respondents were asked what they would buy from vegetarian products, they were given several answers. The survey revealed the following interesting (and a little surprising) results about food choices made by vegans, vegetarians, and inquirers:

1. Everyone wants more greens: Three-quarters of those surveyed (including vegans, vegetarians, and people interested in vegetarian nutrition) mentioned that they would rather buy a product containing green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, or collard greens. Seventy-seven percent of vegans surveyed said they would choose greens, with other groups showing similar results.

Conclusion: Contrary to popular belief, people who choose plant-based foods aren’t necessarily thinking about processed foods or vegan imitations of their favorite meat dishes, they’re more likely to opt for the healthier vegetable option. It turns out that according to this survey, veganism is indeed a healthy choice!

2. Vegans Prefer Whole Foods: While overall results in this category are also positive, the survey found that vegans are particularly likely to choose healthy whole foods such as lentils, chickpeas or rice compared to other groups. Interestingly, 40 percent of vegetarians said they would not choose whole foods. Even those who eat one or more vegetarian meals a week responded more positively.

Conclusion: While the market for processed vegan foods has grown substantially over the past few years, it appears that vegans generally prefer whole foods, especially when compared to other groups. Vegetarians tend to eat the least amount of whole foods. Probably too much cheese?

3. Need for information about sugar: Less than half of those surveyed indicated that they would buy a dessert with sugar if the source of the sugar was not specified. Only 25% of vegans said they would buy unlabeled sugar, which is not surprising because not all sugar is vegan. Surprisingly, among meat eaters who eat vegetarian food once or twice a week, the level of concern for the origin of sugar was also high.

Conclusion: The result of the survey showed the need for labeling of products containing sugar by manufacturers and restaurants.

4. A growing market for vegan sandwiches: Nearly half of those surveyed said they would buy a vegetarian or vegan sandwich from Subway. While this option doesn’t beat greens and whole foods in popularity, this is definitely an area where all groups have shown equally moderate interest.

Conclusion:  as the WWG points out, most food chains and restaurants have added veggie burgers to their menus and it probably makes sense for them to expand this option and offer more sandwich options.

5. A near-total lack of interest in farmed meat: With a growing population and growing demand for meat in developing countries, scientists are now working on more sustainable ways to produce meat in the lab. Some animal welfare organizations support these efforts because they could be the end of exploitation of animals for food.

However, when respondents were asked if they would buy meat grown from animal DNA obtained 10 years ago, that is, without actually rearing the animal, the reaction was extremely negative. Only 2 percent of the vegans surveyed answered yes, and only 11 percent of all respondents (including meat eaters) showed interest in such products. Conclusion: It will take a lot of effort to prepare consumers for the idea of ​​eating lab-grown meat. This is another area where detailed labeling is extremely important, along with price, safety and taste. A quality plant-based meat substitute is more likely to be accepted than meat grown from animal DNA in a lab.

This Vegetarian Resource Group survey is a great first step in understanding people’s choice of plant-based foods, but there’s still a wealth of information to be gleaned from future surveys.

For example, it would be interesting to learn about people’s attitudes towards vegan convenience foods, plant-based meat substitutes and milk alternatives, as well as organic products, GMOs and palm oil.

As the vegan market grows and develops, in parallel with global awareness of health, animal welfare, food safety and environmental issues, consumption trends are likely to change over time. It will be very interesting to watch the development of this area in the US, where there is a large-scale transition towards plant foods.


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