Despite being experts at following trends, when asked about their vegan diet, Gen Z says it’s not a phase. In fact, 72% of Gen Z vegans plan to stay that way for at least the next five years, according to a new survey by MIDSS.
The health website surveyed 3,000 Gen Zers in the U.S., vegans and non-vegans alike, to determine how the cohort of pre-teens to young adults feels about veganism. Here are key findings from the report:
Why does Gen Z go vegan?
Gen Z is often considered to be more environmentally conscious than older generations, but that’s not the main reason they adopt a vegan diet. Instead, 52% of Gen Z vegans say they went vegan for the health benefits.
And while 40% of Gen Z vegans believe that veganism has a positive impact on the environment, only 17% said they follow the diet for environmental reasons. Similarly, it seems most Gen Z vegans aren’t doing it for ethical reasons either, as only 17% said they went vegan because they don’t want to eat animal products.
Do Gen Z vegans want the diet to spread?
When asked what actions they plan to take to promote veganism in the future, 65% of Gen Z vegans said they would educate people about the diet. In line with other findings from the report, 51% of vegan respondents think that promoting the health benefits of a vegan diet would provide the greatest incentive to switch.
Alternatively, 20% of Gen Z vegans are content with their own choice and believe other people should follow whatever diet they want. Some Gen Z vegans (11%) even indicated that they are not happy about the diet’s trendy image. Many dislike vegan influencers in particular, saying they “make us look bad” and “give it a bad name.”
What do Gen Z non-vegans think?
More than half (51%) of the non-vegans surveyed said they wouldn’t go vegan because they simply “can’t give up meat.” Meanwhile, 21% of respondents said that concerns about nutritional deficiencies prevent them from going vegan.
Nearly half (48%) of the non-vegans surveyed also said they don’t think veganism will help protect the environment. Only 40% said a vegan diet does help, and 12% of respondents chose “other,” offering the perspective that veganism both helps and harms simultaneously.
Finally, 38% of non-vegans have a negative view of the diet, with many in this group calling veganism “pointless and unnecessary.” However, 35% of non-vegans do feel positively about veganism, and 25% feel neutral about it, saying that “people are free to choose the diet that suits them.”
Is Gen Z really driving the vegan trend?
While there is a widespread perception that Gen Z is leading the vegan charge, it is worth noting that vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more popular among every age group in the U.S. The most recent Statista data shows that 4% of millennials are vegan, compared to 3% of Gen Z and adults aged 65 and older.
So, the supposed Gen Z vegan takeover should be taken with a grain of salt. In the MIDSS survey, when non-vegan Gen Zers were asked whether they want to become vegan within the next five years, 79% of respondents answered, “no.”
Click here to sign up for The Plant-Based Insider – The Food Institute’s free plant-based newsletter – to get related news, data, and trends delivered directly to your inbox every Tuesday.