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In this article, we will discuss the 12 states with highest rates of vegetarians in the US. If you want to skip our discussion on the trends related to vegetarianism, you can go directly to the 5 States With Highest Rates of Vegetarians in the US.
The United States of America is known for its alarming rate of obesity and cardiovascular diseases across the entire globe. According to a recent dietary guidelines report by the USDA, 74% of American adults battle with obesity. The report further states that cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in the country. Almost half the children in the country are obese, with this trend persisting as they age. Recognizing the severity of this health crisis, Americans are increasingly adopting dietary changes to attain fitness goals and prevent obesity-related diseases. A growing number of individuals are opting to exclude meat and animal products from their diets. Additionally, people are reducing sugar intake, taking supplements like vitamins and probiotics, and choosing organic food products. The global health and wellness food market is expected to be valued at nearly $1 trillion by 2026, indicating continued growth in this health-conscious trend.
The number of vegans and vegetarians has significantly increased across the globe, including America. As of 2023, around 5% of Americans identify as vegetarians and 4% as vegans. The demographic distribution reveals that a higher proportion of younger individuals align with these dietary choices compared to their older counterparts. While the percentage of vegans in the US in 2023 is quite low, a considerable portion of the population aspires to practice veganism in their diets at some point. In 2022, there were over 9.7 million vegans in America. Vegetarianism trends exhibit significant variations among US states, with a notable divide between the North and South, often linked to regional political views. According to a review, states with a higher proportion of people voting for Democrats tended to have more individuals adopting vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. This trend persists with gender disparity, as women are three times more likely than men to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. There are significant regional variations in dietary preferences across the globe as well. India is the most vegetarian country in the world, whereas the US does not make it to the list of top 10 vegetarian countries. Currently, the percentage of vegetarians in the world stands at 22%. You can also check out the 20 Countries With Highest Rates Of Vegetarians here.
Catalysts for Dietary Shifts
It is essential to understand that not all vegans and vegetarians are motivated by health reasons to adjust their diets. Many American youth are inspired by ethical and environmental reasons to shift to meat-free, plant-based diets. Animal welfare stands out as a significant consumer motivation, with 50% of Americans indicating that it significantly influences their purchasing decisions when it comes to food and other products, such as cosmetics. While the concern for animal safety is on the rise, health-related reasons continue to be the primary driver of dietary shifts. This growing focus on health has led to an increase in demand for meat substitute products, resulting in the meat substitute market generating revenue of up to $10.15 billion in 2023. The market is further expected to grow by 10% or more annually during 2023-2028. While the US lags behind many countries in terms of the vegan and vegetarian population, it surpasses the global average consumption of meat substitutes. Within the US, the meat substitute market ranks second, with the milk substitute market surpassing it by $1.27 billion.
Key Players in the Industry
The growing demand for a vegetarian diet and plant-based meat products has led to a lot of companies investing in these markets to make vegan and vegetarian diets more accessible to people around the globe. One of these companies is Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), an LA-based producer of meat substitutes. The company deals entirely with plant-based products, staying away from any animal produce. It helps new vegans and vegetarians fulfill their cravings for meat with sustainable alternatives that are good for their health and the environment. Click here to read Beyond Meat, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BYND) Q3 2023 earnings call transcript. Other companies such as The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC), Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE:TSN), and Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE:INGR) are also moving toward providing a variety of plant-based, vegan food options. Check out the 10 Best Plant-Based Meat Companies to Buy here.
“Consumer Staples. We also established a new position in Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE:INGR), a global food products company that converts corn, tapioca, potatoes, grains, fruits, and vegetables into ingredients and biomaterials for the food, beverage, and other industries. Ingredion’s business has been under pressure in recent years. High fructose corn syrup has been in secular decline because of shifting dietary preferences toward natural sweeteners. Moreover, inflationary pressures in recent years have put downward pressure on margins largely due to a spike in agricultural commodity prices.
However, INGR has begun demonstrating its ability to raise prices in order to offset rising production costs, albeit with a lag. We expect this trend to continue going forward, allowing for continued margin recovery. The company’s self-help drivers also give us confidence. Ingredion has been increasing its high-margin specialty segment as a percentage of its overall sales. Within the company’s lower growth ingredients segment, management is repurposing production capacity toward higher-value products.
INGR has historically traded at a 20-30% discount to its sector peers. Today, INGR trades at 7.9 times consensus EV/EBITDA over the next 12 months, which is around a 40% discount.”
To select the top 12 states with highest rates of vegetarians in the US, we utilized data from reputable sources such as Travel Daily Media and Happy Cow. We used two metrics to determine the rates of vegetarians in US states, namely Google search data related to veganism and vegetarianism and the total number of vegan/vegetarian restaurant options in each state. By utilizing these metrics, we aimed to gauge the popularity of vegetarianism in each state. The states have been ranked in ascending order of their searches related to vegetarianism/veganism per 100k population.
States With Highest Rates of Vegetarians in the US
12. New Jersey
Searches per 100k = 632
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 167
New Jersey, situated in the northeastern region of the United States with a population of nearly 9 million, holds the 12th position on our list of states with the highest rates of vegetarians in the US. New Jersey stands out as an attractive destination for vegetarians and vegans as it has a total of 167 vegan and vegetarian restaurants across the state. This figure marks the fourth-highest count of vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants among the top 12 states.
Searches per 100k = 709
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 263
According to WalletHub’s study on vegan friendliness across cities in the US, Florida boasts three cities in the top 15 rankings. Orlando, Miami, and Tampa secured the 3rd, 8th, and 15th spot, respectively. Orlando stands out in the study for having the highest percentage of restaurants featuring vegan menu options. Meanwhile, Tampa earns recognition for its numerous juice bars and vegetable nurseries per capita.
Searches per 100k = 713
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 68
Arizona finds itself in a peculiar situation where its search density for vegetarianism-related keywords ranks in the top 10, yet it has only 68 restaurants exclusively offering vegan or vegetarian cuisine. This data implies a high interest in vegetarianism among the Arizona population, signaling potential opportunities for the creation of more vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the state.
Searches per 100k = 719
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 114
Massachusetts is experiencing a growing interest in vegetarianism. The state has a decent number of specialized vegan and vegetarian restaurants, with 16 such restaurants for every 1 million people in the state. Massachusetts is at the ninth position on our list of the 12 states with highest rates of vegetarians in the US.
Searches per 100k = 760
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 17
Despite being one of the least populated states in the USA, Vermont is highly popular for its vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. This is evident from the high search density, with 760 searches per 100k population. Furthermore, Vermont has about 3 vegan/vegetarian restaurants per 100k population. This is the second-highest rate of vegetarian restaurants per capita, with Hawaii holding the first spot.
Searches per 100k = 977
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 90
The search density for vegetarian-related queries stands at 977 per 100k in the state. Despite this interest, Washington only has 1 dedicated vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurant per 100k. This suggests there is considerable room for improvement in terms of establishing more vegetarian-only food establishments in the state.
Searches per 100k = 983
Total Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants = 53
Colorado recorded nearly 50,000 searches for “vegan” and “vegan restaurant” in 2023. As per research, Colorado also secured the sixth place amongst the states where residents are most likely to embrace a vegan lifestyle. This determination is based on factors such as the availability of vegan restaurants, the frequency of vegan meetups, and the comparative cost of vegan meals versus meat-based options.
Owing to the shifting consumer preferences, companies such as The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC), Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE:TSN), and Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE:INGR) are also actively working toward providing a variety of plant-based food options.
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Disclosure: None. 12 States With Highest Rates of Vegetarians in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.