For most Americans, healthy eating has not been able to escape its reputation of being a more expensive, inaccessible option for those trying to save on groceries. But this enduring myth is preventing people from adopting a nutritious diet when plant-based foods could save consumers substantial amounts of money.

Despite the declining prices of meat alternatives and the affordability of plant-based home cooking, 65 percent of Americans claim that the cost of healthy foods “frequently” or “occasionally” stops them from shopping for plant-based or vegan foods.

FinanceBuzz just surveyed 1,000 American adults to examine their relationship with the cost of healthy and vegan foods. The survey concluded that the belief that healthy foods are expensive serves as the main deterrent from trying plant-based diets. While many vegan and plant-based alternatives have not met price parity with conventional meat, the growing plant-based industry is expected to eclipse the meat and dairy markets.

Currently, the gap between plant-based meat and conventional beef is significant, at $3.95 for a pound of beef and $7.79 for a pound of Beyond Meat. However, the Good Food Institute (GFI) just released a new report that predicts that the price gap will close as soon as next year. The plant-based market is rapidly increasing its production capabilities while the meat industry faces growing supply chain issues. Soon, consumers will be saving money on meat alternatives.

Shopping Plant-Based Can Save Money

While Americans wait for popular plant-based proteins to eclipse the meat industry, shopping for vegan foods can still save people substantial amounts of money. A recent study found that eating plant-based can help people save $1,260 on groceries per year. The study – published in a special edition of Nutrition Journal – aims to change the pricey reputation of plant-based diets. The research emphasizes that plant-based foods can help budgets rather than hurt them.

“There is often a perception that eating a healthy diet that is good for the environment is unachievable, partly because it will cost more,” one of the study’s leading researchers Tara Goulding said. “This study shows that Australians can be confident that it is more affordable to eat a healthy diet that supports the planet compared to what they might typically eat.”

Another study found that plant-based foods could be even more cost-effective than previously thought. Oxford University commissioned a study that analyzed traditional cuisines of 150 countries and compared how the cost changed based on dietary preference. The study found that plant-based shoppers could save 30 percent on groceries compared to meat and dairy-heavy diets.

“We think the fact that vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets can save you a lot of money is going to surprise people,” Oxford University researcher Dr. Marco Springman said. “When scientists like me advocate for healthy and environmentally friendly eating, it’s often said we’re sitting in our ivory towers promoting something financially out of reach for most people. This study shows it’s quite the opposite. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as for your health and…the planet.”

How Do I Start Eating Plant-Based?

Alongside the data about cost, FinanceBuzz also questioned the participants about what they wanted from their diets. The survey found that 54 percent of people wanted to improve their overall health and 45 percent of people want to help with weight loss. However, since many avoid plant-based foods fearing higher costs, a significant amount of people won't try the most effective diet to reach their goals. Fortunately, it is possible to follow a plant-based, nutrient-rich diet without draining your wallet.

Among all the reasons to try vegan or plant-based eating, saving money is the most reasonable, and it is extremely possible. Here at The Beet, we have compiled a grocery list and beginners' guide to eating plant-based on a budget, giving people a gateway to saving money. If you need to save money, consider plant-based shopping.

To kick off a cheaper plant-based diet, check out Broke Bank Vegan's plant-based budget-conscious recipes. The plant-based couple specializes in making recipes for under $1 per serving. Below are just a few of their affordable dishes, perfect for those trying to save money while eating healthily.

31 Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes to Make on Repeat

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