For Immediate Release December 13, 2016
Contact: Charles Stahler;; (410) 366-8343


The Vegetarian Resource Group Asks in a 2016 National Poll Conducted by Harris Poll

More and more restaurants and companies are offering vegetarian and vegan meals. For example, Subway tested a vegan burger in Florida, vegans can find a burrito at Taco Bell, and Ben and Jerry's has recently released a vegan ice cream. But how many people are interested in vegetarian and vegan meals?

To help answer this question, VRG commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a nationally representative online poll of 2,015 adults aged 18 and over. We asked: Which of the following, if any, best describes your eating behavior?

  1. I never eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy, or eggs.
  2. I never eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry.
  3. I never eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy, or eggs when eating out or getting takeout, but eat one or more of these foods at home.
  4. I never eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry when eating out or getting takeout, but eat one or more of these foods at home.
  5. When eating out or getting takeout, I sometimes eat meals without meat, fish, poultry, dairy, or eggs.
  6. When eating out or getting takeout, I sometimes eat meals without meat, fish, or poultry.
  7. None of these.

We considered those that never eat meat, fish, seafood or poultry; plus those that never eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy, or eggs, as vegetarian. We classified that second category of vegetarians who don't eat dairy or eggs also as vegan. Because we use the word “never” and don't just ask if a person considers him/herself vegetarian, our numbers may be lower than others. Be wary of comparing to polls in other countries that ask if you are vegetarian or vegan, since people may self define differently. We did not ask about honey.

Thirty seven percent of the population always or sometimes eats vegetarian meals when eating out. About three percent (3.3%) of the population is vegetarian (including vegans) all the time, and about five percent always eat vegetarian or vegan meals when eating out.

Since thirty seven percent of the country eats at least some vegetarian meals when eating out, this has strong implications for food companies and restaurants. There is incentive for producing vegetarian dishes as there is demand from over one third of the population.

Those that always or sometimes eat vegetarian meals when eating out pick as their top reasons health (36%), Cost (11%), animals (8%), and other (25%).

Vegetarians (including vegans) chose as their top reasons animals (29%), health (18%), ethics (10%), environment (9%), and other 12% . This group is “directional in nature” because of the smaller sample size.

For more information, see

This survey was conducted online within the United States between March 16 and 18, 2016 among 2,015 adults ages 18 and older by Harris Poll on behalf of VRG via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents'propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, the words “margin of error” are avoided as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the online panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About The Harris Poll

Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers' motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods.

With U.S. adults 18 and over numbering about 245 million, we can estimate the number of vegetarians (including vegans) in the U.S. adult population, based on this poll, to be approximately eight million adults. About half of vegetarians were also vegan. Approximately 3.7 million U.S. adults are vegan; 4.3 million are vegetarian but not vegan.

For information on more polls, see

The Vegetarian Resource Group is a national nonprofit, which educates the public about vegetarianism and veganism. For more information, visit You can write to

The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
Call (410) 366-8343.

For information about $20,000 in vegetarian scholarships, see

Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants to eat vegetarian can be found at

Helpful books of quick recipes are Meatless Meals for Working People, at
and Simply Vegan

Also see: