70% of Gen are interested in plant-based eating more for health than for the environment
Gen Z is driving the fast-growing plant-based food market. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Gen Zers say they plan to adopt a plant-based diet within the next five years, but the reason isn’t necessarily related to their climate concerns.
Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 — have become a driving force in the plant-based food market. According to a recent survey by the US-based Medical Inspiration Daily For Stronger Society (MIDSS), more than half of Gen Zers are plant-based because of the health benefits.
Earlier this year, MIDSS surveyed more than 3,000 people on plant-based and regular diets to gauge their interest, commitment and motivation for a plant-based diet.
Research shows that a plant-based diet can promote better heart health and healthy weight management, and reduce the risk of chronic disease. More than 51 percent of respondents said they chose a plant-based diet because of its health benefits.
Obesity is a growing problem among young people, especially in the United States, where nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, asthma, joint problems and other chronic diseases. Eating plant-based foods can help prevent obesity and related chronic diseases.
Surprisingly, the report states that only 17 percent of Gen Z survey respondents said they followed a plant-based approach to protect the environment. Nearly half of those on a regular diet said they were skeptical about the diet’s positive impact on the environment. 40% of respondents believe that plant-based diets have a positive impact on the environment. Only 17 percent of Gen Z survey respondents said they choose a plant-based diet for ethical reasons.
More than 30 percent of Gen Zers who participated in the MIDSS survey said cravings for animal products and feelings of missing out on good food were major barriers to adopting a plant-based diet.
Whether plant-based or not, the majority of Gen Zers view the plant-based trend positively, with less than a third remaining neutral.
Barriers to trying a plant-based diet.
The survey also revealed that there are still some hurdles to overcome; one in 10 Gen Z plant-based eaters think it’s “weird” to see plant-based eating as a trend, and some pretend plant-based eating is to pander to the masses and play tricks. Cool, “rather than for the actual benefits of a plant-based diet.” Many also dislike plant-based diet propagandists, arguing that they “give it a bad name” and “make us look bad.”
Gen Zers are also active in educating those around them about the benefits of a plant-based diet. 60% of those on a plant-based diet said they would educate others and wish more would follow in their footsteps. Additionally, about 51 percent of those on a plant-based diet said knowing their health benefits was the biggest barrier to starting a plant-based diet.
Despite widespread perceptions that plant-based diets are expensive, a plant-based diet consisting mainly of vegetables, legumes and whole grains is significantly less expensive than a diet rich in animal-based foods, says MIDSS.
Plant-based food options are on the rise, and this trend is likely to continue as Gen Z ages.