Every year interest in plant-based eating grows in the United States. And because of this interest, there is an increased demand for studies and vegan statistics that examine the nutritional, environmental and ethical impact of going plant-based.
You might be interested in losing weight, reducing your carbon footprint, taking control of your health, or maybe you’re just curious what the buzz is about. There are many reasons why you may be considering trying out some plant-based options, but a quick search on Google can lead you down an overwhelming rabbit hole of articles, studies, and surveys.
So, we’ve compiled the most important vegan statistics of 2022 so you can find all the information you need in one place.
1. How many people are vegan in the USA?
Millions of people in the United States are currently on a plant-based diet. The Chef’s Pencil has even named Portland, Oregon, as the vegan capital of the world this year.
According to a study done by Vegetarian Times, 9.7 million Americans follow a vegetarian diet, with about one million of those being vegan. 59% of plant-based eaters in the United States are female, with 41% being male.
It’s nearly impossible to get vegan statistics on the number of vegans worldwide. Interest in a plant-based diet is steadily rising in countries like the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe. But we still lack data on the number of plant-based individuals in many other parts of the world.
2. Investments in plant-based proteins triple since last year
A recent study from The Good Food Institute revealed $3.1 billion of investments into alternative proteins over the last year. That is triple the investments of last year and over 4.5X the investments in 2018.
These investments span various companies that produce alternatives to animal proteins such as egg substitutes, dairy substitutes, and plant-based meat alternatives. It also included cultivated meat companies and fermentation companies.
Credit: The Good Food Institute
3. There’s profitability in plant-based food
This year plant-based food sales are up 27%, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute. The market value of plant-based foods now around $7 billion and will only keep increasing. This growth is almost double that of the total retail food market sales, which was only around 15% this year, even with the big jump due to Covid-19.
Even the vegan egg substitute market is up 700% since 2018! 35% of the vegan retail market is plant-based milk, with almond milk topping the ranks. Plant-based milk is followed closely by plant-based meat and then plant-based yogurt and cheese.
4. Online searches for plant-based protein are on the rise
According to KeywordTool.io, online searches for “plant based protein” are up 22% in the United States in the last year. And searches for “plant based meat” are up a whopping 50%.
5. Going plant-based increases restaurant traffic
Hospitality consulting company Veganizer helps restaurants in the United States, UK, and Australia incorporate more vegan options into their menus. In some cases, they help restaurants make the switch to an entirely plant-based menu. According to their surveys, all the restaurants that went plant-based saw an increase in traffic between 10% and 1000%.
On top of that, the restaurants that went vegan increased their social media traffic from 100% to 15000%!
6. If people stopped consuming animal products, farmland usage would be reduced by 75%.
A report from Science states that dairy, eggs, meat, and aquaculture use approximately 83% of the world’s farmland, yet only provide humans with 18% of their calorie intake. They also produce 58% of food greenhouse gas emissions. Even the animal products that are the lowest impact still have a more significant impact than any vegetable proteins.
The most effective way to mitigate this problem is for consumers to move towards diets that don’t include animal products. This has the potential to reduce land usage by 75%, greenhouse gas emissions by 49%, and freshwater withdrawals by 19%.
7. How much is the meat substitute market worth?
In 2019, the meat substitute market was worth about $4.5 million globally. As consumers become more concerned with climate change, animal welfare, and health concerns related to meat consumption, the market is expected to grow exponentially. A report from Allied Market Research projects the meat substitute market to soar to over $8.8 million by 2027; that’s almost double.
8. There is increased interest in trialing a vegan diet
While some people may not be ready to switch entirely to a vegan diet, many are willing to give it a try. A movement called Veganuary was coined back in 2014, in which non-vegans pledge to go vegan for January. While a UK non-profit has technically laid claim to running this event, anyone can participate whether they sign up or not.
Based on registered sign-ups alone, over half a million people registered for Veganuary last year, with a study showing that nearly one-third of Americans want to eat more vegan food in 2022.
Another interesting stat is that a considerable percentage of consumers of plant-based meat alternatives are actually meat-eaters. According to an interview with Ethan Brown, the founder of Beyond Meat, 93% of buyers are not even plant-based. So, it looks like these substitutes are starting to win people over!
But it isn’t only vegan food that is on the rise, the vegan beauty industry is also seeing great advances. Just check out some of the awesome vegan businesses popping up, like this vegan Wild Deodorant.
9. The vegan leather industry is booming
The vegan food market isn’t the only thing on the rise. There is increased demand for sustainable vegan alternatives to popular animal-derived materials like leather, wool, cashmere, and silk. In fact, Grand View Research anticipates the synthetic leather market to hit $57 billion by 2028, increasing about 7.8% per year.
The growth of the plant-based market
The future looks bright for the global plant-based market. From investors backing sustainable, vegan companies to meat-eaters giving veganism a shot, the industry is guaranteed to keep growing.
The more information and data consumers have access to, the more they can make informed decisions about which industries they choose to support and what they choose to put into their bodies. And progressively, those choices are plant-based. Overall plant based annuals food sales are expected to hit $75 billion in 2027.