NEW YORK — Will the stereotypical “Western diet” be a meatless diet within the next two decades? A new survey finds one-third of Americans think people will all be eating meat-free diets in the future and that “the future” is closer than you think.

The poll of 2,000 people revealed the average person thinks we’ll all be meat-free by 2039 – just 18 years from now. While many have high hopes for the future, over half of respondents (52%) don’t think going on a plant-based diet is a “realistic possibility” for them at the moment.

Of those wary to make the switch, one in five (22%) said plant-based diets are too expensive. Nineteen percent think it would be too time-consuming to learn the ins and outs of switching diets. Sixteen percent blamed their local stores for not providing enough options to support a vegan lifestyle.

The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vegan Strong, also finds 55 percent of Americans worry they couldn’t survive on a vegan diet based on the amount of protein they think they need.

Using the pandemic as a learning experience

America Going MeatlessOnly one in three respondents knew two cups of cooked lentils was equal to the same amount of protein in a 5-oz. steak. In spite of their misconceptions, respondents have been attempting to make healthy lifestyle changes since the pandemic began — even though they haven’t all gone according to plan.

The average person has tried to swap out their foods with healthier alternatives six times; failing the same amount of times. Even though the experiments have not been successful, one in two (51%) count trying new foods as one of the few exciting highlights of the pandemic.

Fifty-two percent revealed the boredom they’ve felt during the pandemic has pushed them to try foods they never thought they would. Some of the things respondents tried for the first time since March 2020 include aloe juice, cauliflower products (rice, pizza crust), dragon fruit, eggplant, tofu, and kimchi.

Turning the diet switch into a fun, family-filled event

America Going MeatlessRespondents aren’t undertaking these culinary expeditions alone. In fact, 60 percent of those who live with others credit new food traditions for expanding the palates of the people they live with.

“Most people don’t realize that plants have all the protein you need,” says a Vegan Strong spokesperson in a statement. “Yet many elite athletes are converting to a plant-based diet because they are seeing their performance and strength improve dramatically.”

The extended time at home during COVID has also allowed respondents to dip their toes into all sorts of dinner-making challenges. Over half the poll (54%) have made a game of cooking with whatever they already have at home. Three in ten (29%) have eaten their way around the world by trying different cultures’ cuisines. One in five have attempted to cook a gluten-free dish and 31 percent have given a vegan recipe a go for the first time.

“Plant-based eating can be incredibly affordable if you focus on eating fruits, vegetables, beans, rice, nuts and seeds,” the Vegan Strong spokesperson adds. “Going vegan is better for your health, your wallet and the earth.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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