The American diet is changing. Research reveals that a growing number of U.S. consumers are eating less meat. Using retail sales data from Nielsen, a report by the Plant Based Foods Association shows that sales of plant-based foods grew 20 percent from 2017 to 2018. Becky Ramsing of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future told HuffPost, “Most surveys definitely show that anywhere between 30 and 50% [of people] are interested in cutting down on meat.”
While many people are reducing meat for health or animal welfare concerns, climate change is another major factor. A recent report from the Center for a Livable Future explains that concerns over sustainability are influencing food choices among a growing number of consumers. According to the report, if everyone who knew about Meatless Monday followed the program for 52 weeks, “the reduction in diet-related GHG emissions would be equivalent to taking over 1.6 million cars off the road for a year.”
Citing a 2017 Natural Resources Defense Council report on beef and carbon emissions, Sujatha Bergen, the NRDC’s health campaigns director, discussed the environmental impact of different foods:
If you compare beef to lentils, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the emissions associated with growing a plant, like lentils or other produce, are significantly lower.
Americans are already taking steps in a more positive direction. The NRDC report reveals that U.S. consumers reduced their beef consumption by 19 percent from 2005 to 2014, cutting down on carbon emissions.
An article published in the journal Public Health Nutrition in 2018 shows that over three years, two-thirds of Americans surveyed reported reducing meat consumption. While health was the main reason, concerns for environmental impact and animal welfare were also important. And according to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, half of respondents said that sustainability was important in their food choices and a quarter said they ate more plant-based protein than they did the previous year.
Times truly are changing. According to a new report from the global consultancy A.T. Kearney, 20 or so years from now, most meat will not be from slaughtered animals. Instead, the report predicts that 60 percent of people will likely be enjoying plant-based or cell-based meat.
We can all make a huge difference for the planet by choosing more plant-based meals. For delicious recipes and easy meal ideas, order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today!