Consumers are increasingly conscious of the food choices they make when purchasing groceries and dining out at restaurants. A variety of issues ranging from health to environmental concerns to animal welfare issues are driving some consumers to adopt plant-based vegetarian or vegan diets. The plant-based food and beverage industry represents a huge area of opportunity in the CPG industry, outpacing growth in the rest of the industry. The industry now exceeds $4.9 billion in annual U.S. sales, growing 3.5 percent in the last year. Restaurants are also responding to the plant-based diet trend by offering vegetarian or vegan options on their menus. 

Branded asked our community members if they currently follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, have followed a vegetarian diet in the past or plan to adopt a plant-based diet in the future. We polled our community and 17,192 community members responded.

Interest in vegetarian diets is growing but the appeal is limited to a niche audience. About 10 percent of our Branded community members are full-time vegetarians or vegans, with an additional 14 percent who follow a plant-based diet sometimes. The majority of our panelists, roughly 61 percent, have never followed a vegetarian or vegan diet and do not plan to in the future.

Adoption of plant-based diets differs significantly by generation. Millennials (age 21-38) are much more likely than older generations to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Roughly 15 percent of Millennials follow a plant-based diet all the time, with an additional 16 percent who sometimes follow a vegetarian diet. Millennials, who tend to be more racially/ethnically diverse, have grown up with more diverse tastes. The vast majority of Baby Boomers (age 51-69) and the Silent Generation (age 70+), who grew up with meat and potatoes diets, do not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Understanding the key segments of the population who tend to follow plant-based diets is key when designing, launching and marketing new food options.

Do you follow a plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet?