Significant Amount of Americans Choosing Plant-Based Alternatives Over Meat

Key Takeaways:

  • A significant number of Americans are reportedly reducing their red and processed meat consumption due to health and budget concerns, with 66% of surveyed adults attesting to this change.
  • Most respondents have chosen to substitute their reduced meat intake with vegetables, followed by dairy products and eggs.
  • Different demographics showed varied tendencies towards meat consumption, with those aged 45-59 and women being more likely to consume less meat. Similarly, those with lower incomes were likely to consume less meat, poultry and fish.
  • The primary reasons for reducing meat intake were health or financial concerns, while animal welfare and environmental reasons were less commonly cited.
  • The survey results could help in creating future campaigns to promote nutritional knowledge, the advantages of plant-based meals, and the environmental impact of meat production.

The longstanding affection for meat amongst Americans seems to be dimming slightly. An analysis suggests that a considerable number of Americans are starting to consume less red and processed meat, along with some poultry and fish, either because they’re concerned about their health or they’re trying to manage their budget.

A typical American diet includes more meat than what health advocates suggest. According to experts at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, intensive meat consumption has adverse effects not only on individuals’ health but also on the environment.

Probing American Dietary Preferences

The research team conducted a survey among 1,112 U.S. adults to comprehend their perspectives on meat consumption and how their dietary habits have morphed over the past three years.

The study found that 66 percent of the respondents reported a reduced consumption of at least one type of meat. Roni Neff, who led the study, stated that while many Americans have strong meat preferences, an increasing number of people are deliberately cutting down their meat intake, eventually leading them towards a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Substituting Meat with Alternatives

Neff expressed their hopes for the findings to be beneficial for forming campaigns and interventions aimed towards aiding individuals in minimizing their meat consumption, which would positively affect their health, their grocery expenditures, and the environment.

Among the respondents, 55 percent acknowledged decreasing their processed meat intake, while 41 percent reported eating less red meat. Moreover, 37 percent reported to have integrated more poultry and seafood into their diet. Most respondents offsetting more meat-oriented foods tended to prefer vegetables as a substitute. Other food alternatives included cheese, other dairy products, and eggs.

Demographics of Meat Consumption

Respondents between the ages 45 to 59 were twice as likely to decrease their intake of one or more types of meat as compared to adults aged 18 to 29. The findings also showed that women were more likely to consume less meat than men.

When asking why the participants were cutting back on meat, the primary motives were financial or health concerns. Those who were in the lower-income range (under $25,000 annually), were more likely to decrease their consumption of meat, poultry, or fish than those in a higher income range (over $75,000 annually). Another interesting finding was parents were less likely than non-parents to follow a reduced meat diet.

Few participants were reducing their meat consumption due to animal welfare or environmental reasons. Those who decided not to reduce their intake believed that meat was integral to maintaining a balanced diet.

Implications of the Survey

The survey’s conclusions could play a significant role in launching new campaigns to spread awareness regarding nutritional knowledge, the benefits of plant-based meals, and the environmental ramifications of meat production.

Additional Resource

For more information about the risks of excessive consumption of red meat, follow this link to research done by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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