Whether motivated by health, environmental, or ethical reasons, the number of vegans in the US and everywhere around the world is steadily increasing.
Regardless of the reasoning behind why a person may choose to go vegan, the population alone is evidence enough that veganism is more than just a trend. It’s a way of life, and statistics suggest it is here to stay.
The American plant-based population has reached new heights in 2021. People have begun changing their perspectives on the meat industry and how it affects animals, people, and the planet.
Businesses from every sector are making vegan products more accessible than ever. The plant-based food industry is booming as thousands of new menu options drop every year.
Through looking at some of the most notable veganism statistics of 2021, we can fully witness the extent of how this plant-based food culture has influenced today’s society – and why we suspect it will continue to do so for decades to come.
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Vegan Population Statistics in the US
After a very slow start in the early 2000s, veganism is spreading like wildfire in the US. With huge leaps forward in the last five years in particular, the American vegan population is thriving and growing exponentially.
- Accordingly to Plant Protein’s sources, 6% of US consumers are vegan
- According to Global Market Research Company, Ipsos, there are currently over 9.7 million American vegans
- The number of vegans in the US has increased by more than 500% since 2014, and 3000% since 2004
Even though the actual percentage of vegan Americans is relatively small, there is a much higher percentage of people that are not strictly vegan, but aim to be.
A report by market research firm, Nielson, shows that a whopping 39% of Americans claim that while their diets are not fully plant-based, they eliminate as many animal-related food products as possible and strive to one day be completely vegan.
Millennials currently hold status as the generation with the largest population of vegans, with more than 40% of them leading plant-based diets. Baby Boomers and Generation X hold tie in second place at 21% each, and senior US citizens make up just 2% of the American vegan population.
US Vegan Restaurant Industry Statistics
Although it may have seemed impossible just 10 years ago, vegan restaurants and takeaways have performed exceedingly well across the US and the rest of the world. Here are some top statistics:
- According to a 2020 study, there are more than 1,474 plant-based restaurants in the US
- Washington DC has the highest number of vegan restaurants per capita
- In 2021, plant-based food sales skyrocketed 2.5X faster than in 2018-2020
- The “plant-based category” was listed as category of the year, displaying 199% YOY (Year Over Year) growth in online retail
Despite the fact that America’s culinary history is deeply steeped in meat and animal by-products like dairy and eggs, the transition over to plant-based cuisine has happened quickly and smoothly. Vegan restaurants are more popular than ever before, and the demand is only growing.
Interestingly enough, the owner of Plant Power Fast Food told Forbes that the 63% growth surge they experienced in 2020 is attributed to omnivores, not vegans. The interest and excitement around vegan food is a significant driver of revenue for many plant-based eateries.
The US Meat-Free Market
Authentic tasting plant-based alternatives to meat products like burgers, bacon, and sausages have enabled vegans to enjoy umami flavours they did not have access to until very recently. The meat-free market is blossoming, and racking up billions of dollars on the way.
- It is estimated that the global vegan “meat” market will reach $7.5 billion before 2025
- Beyond Meat is the world’s leading meat substitute product
- Vegan “meat” sales grew 72% between 2018 and 2020
- Plant-based meat accounted for 2% of the total US meat market in 2018
In addition to meat substitute products, vegan alternatives to commonly animal-based goods such as dairy have also seen significant increases in demand over the past few years.
- The global plant-based milk industry is worth $8 billion in 2016, and is expected to exceed a staggering $21 billion by 2024
- The US consumption of plant-based milk increased by 61% in 2017, while the consumption of cow’s milk declined by 22%
- The most popular plant-based milk is almond milk, which currently holds more than 63% of the alternative milk industry
- Plant-based milk represents 14% of the American milk category
The vegan milk industry is seeing high success rates across the world, and is expected to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
Top Vegan Food Trends in America 2021
One of the main drivers behind veganism’s global success is its trendiness. Particularly in America, food trends greatly dictate popularity, and 2021 has been the year of the plant-based… everything. Here are some of the top vegan food trends from this year so far:
- Watermelon BBQ
- Seitan fried “chicken”
- Gourmet dairy-free cheese alternatives
- Jackfruit pulled “pork”
- Vegan pet food
- Dairy-free ice-cream options
- Tofu and banana blossom “fish”
There are many exciting and delicious plant-based food trends already happening in 2021, and many more are on the horizon. Stick around for the next few years, and you practically won’t be able to tell the difference between plant-based and animal-based anymore.
Veganism in the US: Key Statistics at a Glance
All in all, the data we have collected over the past decade tells us that veganism is much more than just a trend, and is slowly taking its place as a worthy competitor for the animal farming industry. Here are some interesting key statistics on veganism in 2021.
- Google searches for the word “veganism” have increased by over 580% since 2016
- For every four vegans in the US, three are female
- The majority of the US vegan population earns under the national average of $54, 000 annually
- Israel has the largest population of vegans in the world
- “World Vegan Month” is celebrated every November
- The US is fifth in the world for its vegan population size
- The average age for an American vegan is 22 years old
- The US is holds place as the largest regional market for plant-based food
- New York City is the most vegan-friendly city in the US with 40% of takeouts offering Vegan options
While there is plenty more to discover about this revolutionary food movement, the information displayed here should give you a better idea of just how much veganism has changed the world already – and we can’t wait to see what comes next.