Health website Medical Inspiration Daily For Stronger Society (MIDSS) recently polled 3,000 Gen Z individuals to gain new perspectives on the future of the food and health industry. According to the poll, the Gen Z population (individuals born between 1997-2012) is currently the main driver of the US vegan market, with 70% who identify as vegan saying they will continue to pursue the diet in the next five years.
“Gen Zers clearly prefer it more than any other generation”
To conduct its poll, MIDSS says it surveyed 3,000 vegans and non-vegans belonging to the Gen Z age demographic in February 2023.
Among its top findings, the survey found about 50% of vegans chose the lifestyle because of its health benefits, with 17% motivated by animal cruelty concerns, and another 17% choosing the diet for environmental reasons. About 60% of vegans say they also try to educate those around them about the benefits of veganism.
While 40% of vegans said they believe their lifestyle has an overall positive impact on the environment, nearly half – or 48%- of non-vegans said they doubted the positive environmental impacts of veganism. This finding, suggests the authors, could indicate a lack of public education on the negative effects of animal agriculture and meat consumption on the environment.
Barriers to adoption
Of respondents who were already vegan, 70% said they have no plans to quit. However, 51% report the biggest barrier to starting the diet was understanding the health benefits, while 37% of vegans report having cravings for non-vegan food.
Among non-vegans, 80% said they had no desire to go vegan in the next five years, with more than half saying meat cravings presented the biggest obstacle. In addition, 73% of non-vegans report not being familiar with the term “flexitarian”.
These findings, says MIDSS, present a rich opportunity for the food and health industries to expand education about the health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating, as well as promote better understanding of available meat substitutes and other plant-based foods.
“The idea that a plant-based diet is the best choice for both physical and mental health is gaining traction,” says MIDSS. “And while veganism might still seem a bit too extreme for much of the population, Gen Zers clearly prefer it more than any other generation. Their plant-based preferences are also changing the health and food landscape as we know it.”