Biggest Challenge to Going Vegan? Not Food. It’s Friends and Family, Survey Says

|Updated Jul 20, 2022
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Adopting a plant-based or vegan diet has its challenges. Finding the best plant-based protein sources, choosing the perfect non-dairy creamer that foams like the real thing. Figuring out what you like to eat at the BBQ, or switching to a cashew-based cheese can take some adjusting to. But the biggest challenge to going plant-based has nothing to do with food, according to a new survey from the dating app Veggly. It's your nearest and dearest!

Whether you hit friction when choosing a restaurant that serves vegan fare so good that everyone will love it, or planning a family dinner, the social navigating that goes along with giving up meat and dairy (or all animal products) is the biggest hurdle that people have to leap over when they decide to go vegan or plant-based. Of the 700,000 international app users, most felt that an "unsupportive social circle" presented the steepest obstacle in their plant-based journeys.

Nowadays Finding Great Vegan Food Is Easy. Getting Friends Onboard Isn't

It seems like every week a new vegan or plant-based chicken nugget, burger, cheese, or even fish hits the market, promising to make incorporating plant-based foods easier than ever. But the biggest hurdle is a reluctance among some people, often family members or friends, to try these items, or even be tolerant of the fact that you have decided to swear off animal products.

If you're meeting resistance at the dinner table, know that you're not alone. Veggly’s poll shows that 51.4 percent of app users felt a significant lack of support for their vegan lifestyle from friends and family. Without that support, participants may feel pressure to abandon or curtail their commitment to veganism or a plant-forward diet.

“We always suspected this,” Veggly's founder Alex Felipelli said in a statement. “The main reason most people struggle to go vegan is not that they can’t give up meat. It’s because they don’t have the right people around them. Having a supportive group of friends and family, including your partner or partners, will greatly increase your motivation and ability to switch to a vegan lifestyle.

An unsupportive community was higher on app users' list of challenges than giving up cheese of eggs. (40 percent). Giving up meat was only painful to a small fraction of respondents (8.4 percent), while more than five times as many said difficult loved ones were making it hard.

Other common challenges or concerns include the cost, meat-eating traditions, athletic performance, and health concerns, but increased research has debunked these concerns as non-issues. One study found that shoppers can save 30 percent on groceries by switching to a plant-based diet. Athletes including tennis champion Venus Williams and NBA star Chris Paul have out-performed their opponents on strictly plant-based diets.

A growing portfolio of research highlights how plant-based diets can reduce risk factors and alleviate symptoms of several chronic or fatal diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more. This February, one study revealed that a mostly plant-based diet can prolong life expectancy by over 10 years.

Veggly's purpose is to bring together plant-based or plant-interested users to help them overcome this hurdle. The app isn't just for dating, and 21.5 percent of its users report that they expanded their support networks and friendships thanks to the app. Even though this app is designed for dating and romantic connections, it intends to facilitate a greater plant-based community.

“The Veggly team and I are always excited about helping create any new relationship, whether that’s a romantic relationship or a friendship – the more the merrier!” Felipelli said. “Together, we can help build a more vegan world that is kinder to animals and kinder to our planet.”

Last August, the company revealed that New York singles are in luck. The plant-forward dating app revealed that New York is the top state for vegan singles with 787 users per million. For perspective, Virginia ranked second on the list with 377 users per million. The new report closely followed its major milestone of 1 million matches in the app in 2021.

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News articles

The 7 Best Vegan Instant Pot Recipes That Are Easy and Delicious


1. Moroccan Chickpea Tagine by @abiteofkindness

This flavorful dish is inspired by Northern Africa using Moroccan spices and herbs. It has a hint of sweetness and bitterness with the tasty combination of the savory sauce and sweet lemon finish. This recipe serves 4 people and is easy to make so if you're a beginner, don't let the long ingredients list turn you away. Scroll down for the ingredients and instructions.

2. Vegan Jambalaya by @veganrunnereats

Jambalaya is full of flavor. This recipe is made with Italian Beyond sausage for extra flavor but you can also use the regular Beyond flavor because all the spices are strong enough. This dish is a comfort food crowd pleaser! Here are a few notes from the recipe developer: "I usually use white basmati rice with great results. I like the flavor and texture of the spicy hot Italian Beyond sausages in this recipe, but feel free to use a different brand of spicy vegan sausage if you'd like. For a fake meat-free/gluten-free version, omit the sausage completely, or add 1 can of drained and rinsed canned chickpeas or kidney beans."

3. Cashew Yogurt by @ahsustainablelife

This cashew yogurt is delicious and healthy and has the same texture as Greek yogurt. The recipe is easy to follow and makes a perfect breakfast. You can store it in your refrigerator for up to a week and make yogurt parfaits for breakfast. Add fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and a drizzle of agave for sweetness. Here is a note from the recipe developer, "I've been experimenting a lot this past couple of days, as I've been wanting to make really thick and tangy yogurt on my own. I don't like purchasing yogurt too much since there's a lot of plastic waste. Yes, the containers can be recycled to a certain degree, but that's not the end goal for me. I want to simply reduce my impact."

4. Healthy Steel Cut Oats by @veganrunnereats

Breakfast is served using your instant pot! Start your day off with a healthy bowl of oatmeal topped with cinnamon and fresh fruit (if you like). This recipe will become your go-to way of making oatmeal in the morning, and it's great if you don't have a lot of time to prepare breakfast before work. This recipe takes 2 minutes to prepare and needs about 10 minutes to cook. Here's a message from the recipe developer, "This easy recipe for Instant Pot steel cut oatmeal yields delicious and healthy steel cut oats that are dairy-free, soy-free, oil-free, made with no added sugar, and call for only 3 ingredients! This healthy vegan oatmeal can be pressure cooked in 2 ways - a quicker and slower method explained below, both with minimal hands-on time. For gluten-free steel-cut oatmeal use certified gluten-free oats".

5. Family Style Lentil Lasagna by @abiteofkindness

This lasagna is healthier than the traditional style and tastes fresh. Lentil lasagna is full of vegan protein and topped with creamy vegan cheese. This recipe is perfect to make if you're cooking for a family or a larger party. These lentils are melt in your mouth and the cheesy topping is the perfect finish to this dish. This recipe calls for many of your stored pantry essentials like spices, lentils, and powders which makes it much more flavorful. Lentils are high in vegan protein and add a nice texture to this meal. Serve it with a side salad or fresh roasted vegetables. Scroll down for everything you will need to make this healthy and plant-based dinner.

6. Vegan Spinach Dal by @ahsustainablelife

Serve this dish with naan, a soft flatbread, and dip it into the mix. Use up your pantry essentials like spices, rice, and powders to make this flavorful dal. The recipe developer wants you to save your wilted spinach or kale leaves for this dish for better texture and taste, "Do you start off the week buying a huge bunch of spinach or kale with the hopes of having salads every day, and then toward the end of the week, you are left with limp, wilted leaves? Don'

7. Stuffed Butternut Squash by @abiteofkindness

If you like stuffed peppers, these stuffed butternut squash are very similar. They're full of fresh vegetables and topped with creamy vegan cheese. The squash itself is delicate and warm so you can pull it apart and it becomes spaghetti squash. This dish will make you feel light and nourished. Serve these stuffed butternut squash with a side of sliced avocado and top with nutritional yeast for a 'cheesier' finish.