How Do Americans Feel About Meat Consumption?

Plant-based food is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Whether cutting back on meat consumption a few days a week or adopting completely vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, many Americans are reconsidering their diets for a variety of reasons.

The How to Cook research team used Google Surveys to poll Americans on their dietary preferences and whether or not they’d ever eat lab-grown meat. Read on to see the results!

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How Do Americans Feel About Meat Consumption?

How Do Americans Define Their Dietary Preferences?

According to the results of the survey, this is how Americans classify their diets:

  • Omnivore: 43.5%
  • Vegetarian: 8.9%
  • Flexitarian: 8.1%
  • Pescatarian: 4.5%
  • Vegan: 2.0%
  • Other: 33.0%

Nearly half of the survey respondents identified as omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. Close to 9% classified their diets as vegetarian. What percentage of the population is vegan? According to the survey, only 2% identified as vegan.

Additional dietary preferences were also included in the survey. Flexitarian, also known as semi-vegetarian, is a portmanteau of “flexible” and “vegetarian.” It’s used to describe individuals who generally enjoy a plant-based diet but occasionally eat meat. Pescatarian is the term for people who generally follow a vegetarian diet but include seafood while abstaining from beef, pork, and poultry. According to the Department of Agriculture, chicken is the most popular meat in the United States.

Why Americans Are Choosing to Eat Less Meat

Beef consumption in the U.S. is on the decline, with meat sales down by more than 12% since last year. More and more Americans are turning to plant-based meat alternatives. There are many reasons why people choose to either reduce their meat consumption or give up eating meat altogether. According to our survey, these are the top reasons why respondents would reduce their meat consumption:

  • Nutrition: 16.0%
  • Cost: 11.6%
  • Environmental: 9.4%
  • Moral Reasons or Animal Rights: 8.3%
  • Personal Beliefs: 7.5%
  • Taste: 5.4%
  • Wouldn’t Stop Eating Meat: 41.8%

While the majority of respondents said they would not stop eating meat, the top reason that people would reduce meat consumption is for nutritional purposes. Vegetarian diets primarily consist of healthy vegetables, fruits, and legumes in dishes like ratatouille.

Americans’ Take on Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown meat, also known as cultivated meat, has been a hot topic in America. Researchers are currently experimenting with cultivating meat from animal cells to create meat in a lab setting without causing further harm to animals. This is expected to address problems of the environmental impact of meat production, food insecurity, animal welfare, and health.

Our survey asked Americans if they would be willing to eat lab-grown meat. These are the responses to the question:

  • No: 42.2%
  • Unsure: 29.2%
  • Maybe: 18.1%
  • Yes: 10.5%

A majority of Americans responded that they would not be willing to try lab-grown meat, while 1 in 10 said they would try it. While it’s a relatively new concept, meat grown sustainably in a lab could help the environment by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions that are currently harming the environment and make it easier to produce meat for those in food-insecure locations.

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This page was last updated by Megan Miller