- Lack of awareness, not lack of interest, appears to be the major hurdle to mass adoption of plant-based diets among Americans. Over 51% of respondents expressed a readiness to consume more plant-based foods if they understood their environmental impact better.
- Despite only 4% identifying as vegan or vegetarian, 20% consume plant-based dairy substitutes regularly, indicating a willingness to embrace plant-based alternatives when available.
- The most common barriers to embracing plant-based meals include perceived cost, taste expectations, and accessibility as hurdles to increased plant-based meal intake.
- Almost half of the surveyed participants believed plant-based meals are more expensive than meat-based ones, and many would switch if plant-based options were cheaper and tastier.
- Improving public awareness on the environmental impact of food choices, particularly the role of animal agriculture in climate change, is key in promoting plant-based diets.
A recent survey indicates that lack of knowledge, rather than lack of interest, prevents the mass adoption of a plant-based diet among Americans.
The results of the survey, which engaged just above 1,000 adults across the country, unveiled that over half, or 51% of the respondents, expressed their readiness to consume more plant-based foods if they had better knowledge of how it would affect the planet positively.
It was revealed that 70% of those surveyed rarely or never discuss environmental impacts related to their consumption habits in their daily dialogues with friends and family. Similarly, about two-thirds of the respondents reported that they were never encouraged to adapt to more plant-based foods. More than half of them said the topic is seldom or not addressed at all in the media.
On the bright side, over 50% of those surveyed were ready to eat more vegetables or substitute them for red meat.
Irrespective of Only 4% of the individuals in the survey identifying themselves as vegan or vegetarian, 20% reported they selected plant-based dairy substitutes two to five times a week or even more frequently. Similarly, around the same figure did not patronize food companies that are not taking measures to mitigate their ecological footprint.
Challenges of Plant-Based Food Adoption
Along with poor knowledge on the subject, other factors deter an increased intake of plant-based meals include perceived cost, taste expectations, and accessibility, as per the findings by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the Earth Day Network.
For instance, almost half of the survey participants believed that a meal with a plant-based main dish is pricier compared to a meat-based one. Additionally, a significant number conveyed they would consume more plant-based foods if they were less expensive than meat products (63%) and if they had a superior taste (67%).
Jillian Semaan, food and environment director for the Earth Day Network, suggests that, “This data should alert the climate movement sector. Animal agriculture significantly contributes to the climate crisis. We need to inform the masses about the impact of food choices, animal agriculture, and climate change.”
Finding Out More about Plant-Based Diets
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more on plant-based eating.