A growing number of vegan dating apps are putting a social spin on the plant-based movement. But how relevant are these meatless match-making services to the food industry at large?
Relationships can have a significant impact on diet adherence. According to a 2014 – 2016 study by Faunalytics.org, 10% of the U.S. population used to be vegans or vegetarians but no longer follow that lifestyle. Furthermore, 63% felt like their diet made them stick out too much.
“This type of social pressure and isolation is a key factor in why people abandon their vegan lifestyle,” Markus Maibaum, plant-based food expert at Veganivore told The Food Institute. “By connecting with other vegans through dating or friendship apps, they may have a support system that helps them stay committed to their diet and lifestyle, [thereby] contributing to the growth of the plant-based food and beverage industry.”
For further insights, The Food Institute spoke with Lewis Foster, CEO of Grazer, who founded the app in 2017. The Grazer app is available worldwide, with its highest concentration of users in the U.S. and U.K., respectively.
This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
Vegans represent a relatively small percentage of consumers. What inspired you to create a vegan dating app?
I’ve been vegan since 2011 and I saw back then how fast the plant-based movement was growing. I also knew that vegan dating was always a big sticking point in the community, and I wanted to help solve this problem. Our research shows that over half of vegans don’t mention their diet on their profile for fear of rejection. We want to build a space where the meat-free can express themselves freely and connect with the likeminded.
What are the demographics of your audience?
Millennials are our highest representation, followed by Gen Z, but we have a healthy older user base. Over 5% of our users are 50-59.
Our gender split is almost 50-50 when it comes to men and women, which is rare for dating apps. We also have a 2% non-binary representation which is great. Our LGBTQ+ audience is also largely represented with over 20% of our user base looking to date a gender the same as theirs, or more than one gender.
This app isn’t strictly for singles. How does it function as a friend finder?
Much like our dating section, you can like and match with fellow plant-based people looking for friends. Our friend-finding section is way more active than we initially thought it might be. Around 20% of our user base are looking to find friends on Grazer, whereas apps like Bumble only report 3% of users on their BFF feature. It shows you just how much vegans and veggies are looking for like-minded people to connect with on a deeper level.
In what ways, if any, does the platform collaborate with retail and/or foodservice companies?
We’re open to offline collaborations with cool brands, food service and companies but not directly in our app. We want to keep [Grazer] purely focused on our service.
In terms of collaboration, we would plan to work with global food companies for special events or restaurants for more regular meet ups. Any collaboration would have to be with vegan or ethical brands though.