70% of Gen Zers Interested In a Vegan Diet for Their Health, Not the Environment
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Gen Z is driving the rapidly growing plant-based food market. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Gen Zers say they plan to pursue a vegan diet in the next five years but the reasons don’t necessarily track with their climate concerns.
Gen Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 — have become the driving force behind the vegan food market. According to a recent survey conducted by Medical Inspiration Daily For Stronger Society (MIDSS), more than half of Gen Z chose to go vegan due to health benefits.
MIDSS surveyed more than 3,000 vegans and non-vegans earlier this year to gauge their interest in, commitments, and motivations for the vegan diet.
Studies suggest that a vegan diet can promote better heart health, and healthy weight management, as well as reduce the risk of chronic diseases. More than 51 percent of the survey respondents said they chose a vegan diet due to its health benefits.
Obesity has become a growing issue for young people, particularly in the U.S., with almost 20 percent of children and adolescents being obese. Obesity increases the risk of type-2 diabetes, asthma, joint problems, and other chronic diseases. Eating plant-based food helps prevent obesity and associated chronic diseases.
Surprisingly, given Gen Z’s interest in climate action, the report notes that only 17 percent of Gen Z survey respondents say they follow the diet for environmental benefits. Nearly half of non-vegans said they doubted the positive environmental impact of the diet. Forty percent of respondents believe veganism has a positive impact on the environment. Only 17 percent of Gen Z survey respondents say they chose to go vegan for ethical reasons.
Craving animal products and the feeling of missing out on good food are the main barriers to adopting a vegan diet, according to more than 30 percent of Gen Z who participated in the MIDSS survey.
Vegan or not, the majority of Gen Z vegans have a positive attitude toward the vegan trend, with less than one-third remaining neutral.
Barriers to entry
The survey also revealed there are still hurdles to overcome, however; one in ten Gen Z vegans thinks that treating a vegan diet as a trend is “weird,” and some people are faking it to fit in and be cool “rather than for the actual benefits that come with being vegan.” Many also dislike vegan influencers, believing they “give it a bad name” and “make us look bad.”
Gen Z is also taking a proactive role in educating those around them about the benefits of veganism. Sixty percent of vegans say they educate others, hoping that more people will follow in their footsteps. Additionally, about 51 percent of vegans stated that understanding the health benefits was the biggest barrier to starting a plant-based diet.
MIDSS says that despite the common belief that eating vegan is expensive, a vegan diet consisting mainly of vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is considerably cheaper than a diet rich in animal foods.
The cost of plant-based meat substitutes can be expensive, but it is not a necessary part of the vegan diet. The meat-substitute market is currently valued at more than $10 billion and is estimated to reach almost $34 billion by 2027. Plant-based food options are increasing, and this trend is likely to continue as Gen Z grows older.