It seems Gen-Z isn't the only age group gravitating towards a more plant-based diet: A recent survey revealed more than half of Millennials are eating more plant-based, and they describe themselves as flexitarians.

The survey, commissioned by Sprouts Farmers Market and conducted by One Poll, surveyed 2,000 Americans between the ages of 24-39 about their New Year eating habits and how healthy they aim to be in 2021 and beyond. Of those surveyed, 54% identified as flexitarian and are incorporating more plant-based foods into their diets as a permanent lifestyle change.

This is the highest number of people who identified as leaning into a plant-based lifestyle yet, according to research, and 63 percent of respondents said they are eating more plant-based foods or describe themselves as flexitarian. So why are Millenials making these healthy diet changes? More than half of them said they are adding plant-based foods to their diet to strengthen their immune system, while 44 percent said they are eager to "avoid getting sick" and 42 percent said they want to eat to "optimize my body for fitness." Other reasons for making the switch included eating to lose weight, and make up for eating too much junk over the holidays, or as a New Year's resolution. Only 12 percent said they were doing it for environmental reasons.

What is motivating people to eat healthier in 2021?                                      

  1. I want to strengthen my immune system                           53%
  2. I want to avoid getting sick                                               44%
  3. I want to optimize my body for fitness                               42%
  4. I want to lose weight                                                        42%
  5. I've eaten way too much junk food during the holidays       41%
  6. It's part of my New Year resolution                                    36%
  7. My spouse/partner wants to lose weight together             32%
  8. I want to try something new                                             26%
  9. I want my body to perform tasks better                             24%
  10. I want to feel up-to-date                                                   19%
  11. I want to eat more sustainably for the planet                     12%

A common myth is that when you switch to a plant-based diet it's challenging to meet your nutritional needs, but two-thirds of those surveyed said they believe that all of their nutritional needs can be met on a plant-based diet. Plant-based alternatives were also favored amongst the respondents: 63% are willing to swap meat for a plant-based alternative, as long as it tastes similar, costs the same, has the same nutritional value and texture.

“The interest in plant-based foods and a flexitarian diet is evident,” said Sprouts Chief Executive Officer Jack Sinclair. “Shoppers are more engaged with their food than ever and are seeking innovative and alternative products to mix up the meals they prepare for themselves and their families.”

Respondents believe a healthier diet gives them a better understanding of the world, can help people understand their bodies better and help themselves feel better overall.

“Plant-based product sales grew exponentially last year, indicating consumers are craving innovative items to try at home,” said Sinclair. “We believe consumers will remain focused on incorporating healthy foods into their lifestyles to support immunity and overall wellbeing in 2021. This includes introducing consumers to things they never considered before, like plant-based foods and meat alternatives.”

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