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