We all know veganism has made major inroads into popular culture in the last several years, but the actual changes can be hard to measure. Other than the wealth of anecdotal evidence—like your stubborn great Uncle Herb eating veggie burgers or Walmart (gasp!) stocking plant-based products—how do we know if things have really changed?
According to the Nutrition Business Journal’s Food Tribe 2015 report, they have. “The appeal and potential for vegan products is expanding beyond the small group of people who avoid animal products for ethical reasons to include the much larger base of consumers seeking healthier, cleaner foods, according to an industry expert,” FoodNavigator-USA.com reports.
Eric Pierce, director of strategy and insights at New Hope Natural Media (the folks behind Natural Products Expo West), said 36% of U.S. consumers use milk and meat alternatives, and 26% say they ate less meat in the last 12 months (although other research suggests that number may be even higher).
While only approximately 6% of the U.S. population identifies as vegan, the market for vegan products is clearly much larger, with consumers opting into plant-based products on a large scale. The data shows vegan products are going mainstream, which is good news for animals, people and the planet, alike.