One in three Americans now considers themselves a “flexitarian,” according to new research.
A new study into the diet choices of 2,000 Americans found 38% admit to following more than one type of dietary lifestyle. And, a flexitarian diet is now adopted by 31% of those studied, while another 13% now subscribe to a specific eating lifestyle such as veganism, vegetarianism or paleo.
The study, conducted by OnePoll, UK, in conjunction with So Delicious Dairy Free, a division of Danone North America, Broomfield, Colo., examined the eating habits of 2,000 Americans, and found that nearly three in five (59%) eat plant-based meals at least once a day.
The research also saw the average American flexes their culinary techniques by eating four meat-free meals a week.
Over half (52%) of Americans are currently trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into their daily lives.
And, 18% of Americans have tried a vegetarian diet, while 5% have tried a vegan diet.
On average, Americans reported that they will attempt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle six times in their lifetime – with the average stretch being 37 days of strict plant-based meals.
Survey respondents, on average, consumed two vegan meals, two pescatarian meals, three vegetarian, three paleo, three gluten-free and three dairy-free meals in a typical week.
Seven in 10 Americans believe a flexitarian lifestyle allows them the ability to eat healthier without feeling like they are depriving themselves of the foods they love. Other reasons is that it helps them feel better physically and mentally, and sets a good example for their kids.
That being said, respondents did have a few barriers that stopped them from eating even more plant-based meals such as taste, not being satisfied, the food quality/texture and not enough variety to choose from.
“Living and enjoying a plant-based lifestyle is easier than ever before,” says Lauren Start, senior brand manager for So Delicious Dairy Free “Enjoying a dairy-free lifestyle can be just that – enjoyable. The study shows an interest in a flexitarian lifestyle and in plant-based food. As that interest continues to grow, so will the demand for delicious treats that align with these different eating lifestyles.”
Although three in 10 Americans don’t think they could go vegan full-time, they do see themselves eating a few plant-based meals a week.
In fact, people are willing to cut certain things out of their diet. For instance, 42% of Americans say they are willing to cut meat out of their diet and another 46% are willing to cut dairy. Nearly 46% of Americans are willing to cut out fish while over half (52%) say they can live without bread.
While 73% of Americans admit to eating a variety of different foods, 13% may still eat a variety of foods, but consciously cut out certain things like meat, dairy and pork, among others.
Survey respondents say they have really reduced the amount of meat and dairy they consume over the last five years. In fact, 37% have reduced how much meat they consume, while another 33% have reduced the amount of dairy they eat.
“Whether you partake in a dairy-free or vegan lifestyle because you want to or because you have to, you’re making a mindful choice for you and the planet,” says Start. “As the results display, there is an interest in dairy-free options that taste delicious and are made of quality ingredients. So Delicious takes pride in providing options for people who are flexing their culinary techniques and embracing dairy-free lifestyles.”
Top 5 reasons reported to be a flexitarian
To eat healthier without feeling deprived 70%
To feel better physically 69%
To feel better mentally 57%
To lose weight 46%
To set a good example for children/others 27%
Top 4 reasons reported for eating more plant-based meals
Improve overall health and nutrition 76%
Weight management 51%
Animal welfare reasons 24%
Environmental concerns 23%