Plant Based Diet Statistics – 12 Interesting Facts

Photo of author

By Rebekah Pierce

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

Plant Based Diet Statistics

With the rise of veganism and vegetarianism around the world, plant-based diets have become a significant trend in recent years. People are now more conscious of their health and eco-footprint – and are now opting for a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Whether for ethical reasons, health benefits, or weight loss, plant-based diets offer an abundance of benefits that everyone should know.

In this article, we’re delving into the statistics surrounding plant-based diets so that you can have a better understanding of their impact on people and the planet.

Plant Based Diet Foods

How Effective is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is not only great for your health, but for the environment as well. It’s been proven to fight inflammation, reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, while promoting digestive health and weight loss.

Plant-based diets have been shown to lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. This is likely due to the high antioxidant levels found in plant-based foods that help to fight off free radicals and inflammation. 

In addition, plant-based diets are typically low in saturated and trans fats which are known to contribute to many chronic diseases. By eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, you’ll be giving your body the nutrients it needs to fight off chronic diseases.

Consuming a plant-based diet has also been linked to reduced body weight and increased energy levels. This is because plant-based foods tend to be lower in calories and higher in nutrients than their animal-based counterparts which can often be high in saturated fats and calories. By eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you’ll feel fuller for longer and be less inclined to snack on unhealthy foods. 

Not only is a plant-based diet great for your health, but it’s great for the environment as well. Consuming plant-based foods means less waste, fewer carbon emissions, and less water pollution. 

The production of meat-based products requires far more resources than the production of plant-based foods. By choosing to eat plant-based foods, you’re helping to save our planet and protect the environment for future generations.

Plant-Based Diet Statistics – Highlights

  • The number of Americans who follow a vegan diet increased by 600% from 2014 to 2018 alone.
  • There have been $3.1 billion in investments into alternative proteins within the last year.
  • Plant-based food sales increased 27% in 2022.
  • 59% of plant-based eaters in the US are female.
  • The meat-substitute market is expected to grow to more than $8.8 million by 2027, effectively doubling itself.

The number of Americans who follow a vegan diet increased by 600% from 2014 to 2018 alone.

Source: NIH

With social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube becoming influential factors in driving dietary choices and lifestyle choices, veganism has become increasingly popular. According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of Americans who follow a vegan diet increased from 1% of the population in 2014 to an astonishing 6% in 2018. 

This represents an incredible 600% increase in just four years. With various documentaries and animal activists raising awareness about the ethical treatment of animals and the environmental impact of meat-based diets, more people are inclined to switch to a plant-based lifestyle.

There have been $3.1 billion in investments into alternative proteins within the last year.

Source: The Good Food Institute

The Good Food Institute highlights the significant increase in investments within the plant-based sector, particularly as it relates to alternative proteins. Within the last year, investors have put a total of $3.1 billion into this sector. 

This significant investment demonstrates the growing demand for meat alternatives, and plant-based proteins, as well as the faith that investors have in those alternative products and their potential future growth.

Alternative Protein

9.7 million Americans follow a vegetarian diet, and about a million of those people are also vegan.

Source: Vegetarian Times

That’s more than 3% of the US population. What’s more, about one million of those people are vegans, who don’t consume any animal products at all. 

59% of plant-based eaters in the US are female.

Source: Vegetarian Times

This statistic might surprise you, but it’s not that shocking when you consider that many women tend to be more focused on health and weight management. By adopting a plant-based diet, women can increase their nutrient intake, lower their risk of heart disease, and even improve their gut health. It’s no wonder the number of women adopting a plant-based diet is growing!

The vegan egg alternative market has grown 700% since 2018.

Source: Plant Based Foods

This is great news for those looking to reduce their cholesterol intake and those with egg allergies. The market has exploded with vegan egg alternatives such as scrambled tofu, chickpea flour omelets, and even egg-like products made from algae. With such a wide variety of alternatives, there’s no reason to continue consuming traditional eggs.

On average, vegans are less likely to die at a younger age than meat eaters.

Source: Pawsome Advice

This means that vegans are at a lower risk of developing serious health issues such as heart disease, obesity, and even certain types of cancer. The reasoning behind this is simple – plant-based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while being low in saturated fats. All of these benefits contribute to better overall health and reduced risk of disease.

Internationally, Italy has the fastest-growing vegetarian population, a 94% increase from 2011 to 2016 alone.

Source: Euromonitor

When it comes to the international scene, the numbers are even more impressive. Italy recorded the world’s fastest-growing vegetarian population, with a 94% increase from 2011 to 2016 alone. 

It’s quite surprising, considering how famous the country is for its meat dishes, such as Bolognese and Carbonara. But the government’s healthy eating campaign and awareness programs about animal welfare seem to be driving people towards plant-based diets.

It’s estimated that there are about 79 million vegans worldwide.

Source: Redefine Meat

That’s a significant number, considering that being a vegan is a personal choice and not a cultural norm. Though it’s not easy to track exact figures, the report had consulted multiple surveys, research papers, and industry experts to estimate the number.

Vegan Diet

The meat substitute market is expected to grow to more than $8.8 million by 2027, effectively doubling itself.

Source: Allied Market Research 

This means that alternatives to meat, such as tofu, seitan, and soy-based foods, are becoming increasingly popular among consumers. This shift towards plant-based diets is not just about being vegetarian, but also about reducing the environmental impact of meat production. By consuming plant-based foods, individuals are able to reduce their carbon footprint and help the planet.

It’s estimated that, by 2040, only 40% of the world’s population will continue to eat meat.

Source: Health Careers

This projection indicates that a majority of individuals will switch to a plant-based diet in the coming years. The report also suggests that this change is mainly due to rising concerns about the environmental impact of the meat industry, along with the health benefits of plant-based diets. 

By consuming plant-based foods, individuals are able to reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

US consumption of non-dairy milk has increased by 61%.

Source: Mintel

This shift away from dairy products is due to concerns about animal welfare, as well as the environmental impact of the dairy industry. Non-dairy milk, such as almond, oat, and soy milk, are also considered to be healthier alternatives to dairy milk.

Plant-based food sales increased 27% in 2022.

Source: Plant-Based Foods Association/The Good Food Institute

This growth in sales is due to increasing demand for healthier and more sustainable food options. Plant-based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are also becoming more widely available in supermarkets and restaurants, making it easier for individuals to make the switch to a plant-based diet.

Thoughts: Plant Based Diet Statistics

The statistics surrounding plant-based diets speak louder than words. With veganism on the rise, Meatless Monday campaigns are in full swing!

There are more plant-based food options emerging, there’s never been a better time to switch to a plant-based diet. The benefits of plant-based diets are numerous, from health to environmental. 

Whether you’re a meat lover or not, it’s worth giving plant-based meals a try for their incredible health benefits, environmental sustainability, and ethics. And let’s face it – some of them just taste so fantastic.

Photo of author

Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a professional writer specializing in a variety of niches, including health and fitness. Her unique blend of experience managing and owning a regenerative farm, along with a background working in both secondary and higher education, gives her the versatility needed to write about a variety of topics. She has a B.A. in English and a M.S.Ed. in Special Education. She's an avid runner, having completed multiple marathons and half marathons, and believes in the profound power of overall health, wellness, and good nutrition when it comes to changing lives!