Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) began eating more plant-based foods during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Herbalife Nutrition. The global survey asked 28,000 respondents in 30 countries about their dietary changes during the pandemic. The poll included 2,000 Americans and found 33 percent made a major dietary change in the last seven months. According to the poll, 54 percent of Americans started eating more fruit and vegetables, 43 percent ate less meat, 25 percent either reduced or cut out dairy from their diets, and 23 percent reduced or eliminated eggs. As for the reasons behind these dietary changes, most Americans (53 percent) indicated that they had more time to research healthier foods and diets. When it came to reducing meat, 23 percent of Americans indicated that the increased cost of animal-derived meat drove their decision, while 19 percent reported that their trust in the quality of meat had decreased since the onset of COVID-19. 

“There is never a bad time to make a positive change in your lifestyle, especially when those changes lead to lasting healthy results,” Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer at Herbalife Nutrition, said. “During this pandemic, it appears more individuals are choosing quality nutrient-dense sources like those found in a plant-based diet.”

Grocery sales data during the height of the pandemic supports the survey’s findings. According to a report compiled by trade group Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and market research company SPINS, plant-based food sales increased by 90 percent in mid-March compared to sales during the same time last year, with sales of vegan meat up by 148 percent, vegan cheese up by 95 percent, and tofu and tempeh sales up by 88 percent during the pandemic peak-buying period.