Vegan Meals Cost 40 Percent Less Than Ones That Include Meat, Study Finds

|Updated Dec 17, 2020
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To add to our ever-growing list of reasons you should transform your diet to be more plant-based, a new study has found that vegan meals cost on average 40 percent less than ones that include meat and dairy. Conducted by the UK-based organization Veganuary, the study reviewed 11,000 weekly food diaries for a year and found that vegan eaters spent less on groceries and took one-third of the time to prepare food. So, not only does going vegan save you money, but it can also save you time.

Going Vegan Can Save You Time and Money

The study found, "A main meal (lunch/dinner) containing meat, fish or poultry costs, on average, £1.77 per person (roughly $2.17) whereas a plant-based main meal costs 40% less at just £1.06 ($1.30) per person. This is a saving of 71% per person, per meal. The cost savings are seen fairly equally across lunch and dinner."

"A meat/fish-based lunch takes 18.9 minutes to prepare, on average, whereas a plant-based lunch is 37% quicker at only 12 minutes. A meat/fish-based dinner takes 37.5 minutes to prepare, on average, whereas a plant-based dinner is 32% quicker at just 25.4 minutes."

Vegan Eaters Spend Less on Groceries on Average

This study tracks with past research which found that going vegan saves on average $23 at the grocery store per week. While plant-based products such as faux meats and prepared meals can ring in at a premium, vegan and vegetarian diets net out as less costly overall, due to the rising costs of beef, poultry, and seafood. (Supply has become even more limited since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the closing of some plants.) Veganuary's study also found that while plant-based meat alternatives can be pricey, they only account for 3.7% of plant-based eaters' yearly food and drink budgets.

Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s Head of Communications, explained that longtime vegans are probably not surprised by these findings, saying, “Those of us who’ve been eating vegan for years know that it’s great value, yet somehow the myth has persisted that veganism is expensive and out of reach for some people. We now have the data to dispel this outdated idea once and for all. While some plant-based meat and dairy substitutes carry a premium, this study shows they are only a small part of a typical vegan diet and overall eating plants costs less."

The findings in Veganuary's study echo a recent SVG study as well as a 2015 study published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition which found that, on average, vegetarians spent 750 dollars less per year on food than their meat-eating counterparts.

For more ways to save money on a plant-based diet, visit our nutritionist-approved tips to keep costs low at the grocery store.