While roughly one in four people who consume meat don’t believe a plant-centric diet is cheaper, a new study by Sous Vide Guy found that people on meatless diets spend an average of $23 less on food each week. The study surveyed more than 1,000 Americans between the ages of 21 and 73 about their eating habits and perceptions of plant-based meals.
Nearly 40 percent of participants agreed that it is possible to eat a more plant-centric diet on a budget. The study found that roughly 27 percent of those polled acknowledged reducing or eliminating their meat intake to save money.
The study showed that approximately three in four Americans (76.9 percent) are trying to be conscious of how many animal products they consume, and they are reducing or eliminating animal products to be healthier overall, with 50 percent saying the move is out of concern for the environment, with 46 percent expressing concern about animal welfare.
Over 67 percent of respondents said plant-based diets were trendy, while another 59 percent believed more vegetarian options at fast-food restaurants would make Americans healthier. However, while many meat substitutes are considered safe to eat by the FDA, some meatless burgers are still high in saturated fat and sodium.
Roughly 55 percent of people also believed that increasing the number of vegetarian options in fast-food restaurants would positively impact the environment. Still, for some people, giving up meat is hard. Nearly one in four Americans surveyed said they wouldn’t give up meat because they enjoy the taste, and almost 17 percent said meat was too convenient a protein to pass up.
The study also included an analysis of Google trends data with search prevalence gauging regional interest in vegetarian and vegan diets over a five year period across America. For some, reducing or eliminating meat consumption may not entirely be about health benefits or animal cruelty. Environmental concerns may have contributed to a spike in vegetarian and vegan diet Google searches in July of 2017, as the US prepared to exit the Paris climate accord.
While many Americans won’t completely give up meat, a growing number are mindful of the presence of meat in their diets and are actively trying to scale back. And though there isn’t a single diet approach that works for everyone, simply cooking meals at home can be an easy way to healthier – and cheaper – living.