Ahead of Valentine’s Day, vegetarian food brand Sweet Earth Foods, dating site OkCupid, and actor Chase Stokes—of Outer Banks fame—will host an event to discuss the dilemmas facing daters who follow different diets. The “Veggie Lovers Virtual Dating Event” will feature a discussion led by Stokes, a self-proclaimed “flexitarian,” who is currently dating Outer Banks co-star and vegan Madelyn Cline. “Finding someone to date can be tough enough without having the dreaded ‘what to eat for dinner’ question get in the way of a potential match,” Stokes said. “When Maddie and I started dating, I didn’t have any ambitions to adopt a plant-based diet, but I really started liking the food when I tried Sweet Earth products and realized there’s a ton of variety available if you want to eat less meat.” The event will also be joined by OkCupid Dating Expert Damona Hoffman who, along with Stokes, will lead a Q&A session to help discuss the hardships daters of different dietary preferences face. 

The event will take place on February 10 and interested singles can register at ImaVeggieLover.com. After the “Veggie Lovers Virtual Dating Event,” participants can enter for a chance to win a spot in a private and exclusive speed dating event. 

Dating dilemmas 
The event was created in response to data gathered by Sweet Earth about the challenges of dating with dietary differences. In December, Sweet Earth polled 1,000 Gen-Z and Millennial respondents in the United States who have dated within the last two years and found that dietary preferences were a major determining factor of perceived compatibility. One in four respondents ranked a similar diet above sexual chemistry and physical appearance in terms of importance when finding a compatible partner. Furthermore, nearly half of respondents said a similar diet was more important than holding similar political ideologies.  

Sweet Earth also collected data from groups divided into 250 flexitarians, 250 vegetarians, and 250 vegans. A majority of vegans (66 percent) said that a carnivore diet would impact their perception of that person’s eligibility as a potential match while half of vegetarians said the same. When it came to vegans in the LGBTQ+ community, 75 percent of respondents indicated that a carnivore diet would impact their perception. 

On the flip side, a majority of meat-eaters (66 percent) indicated that dating a vegan or vegetarian has a higher impact on their perception of a potential match than other factors such as credit card debt (63 percent), history of divorce (58 percent), gluten-free diet (50 percent), and dairy-free diet (47 percent). Four in 10 (42 percent) of meat-eaters indicated they would expect a plant-based partner to still cook meat for them and 32 percent would seek couples counseling should they date a plant-based partner. Plant-based respondents also expressed anxiety over revealing their dietary preferences to partners, with 19 percent of vegans and 20 percent of vegetarians indicating that they have strayed from their diets during dates to avoid conflict. 

“It was important for Sweet Earth Foods to organize the Veggie Lovers Virtual Dating Event to offer a space for people to have an open and honest conversation about how food plays a key role in dating today,” Sweet Earth Vice President Jessica Vasisht told VegNews. “Dating, especially in the age of COVID, is hard enough without having dietary preferences come in the middle of it.” 

Vegan dating on OkCupid
While the data Sweet Earth found about meat-eaters seems daunting, the dating landscape around dietary preferences is changing on OkCupid, the site’s Communications and Public Relations Manager Michael Kaye told VegNews. “Over the years, singles have become more open to dating someone with different food preferences,” Kaye said. “Last year, 73 percent of OkCupid respondents said they wouldn’t care what their partner eats, up from 63 percent two years prior.”

Kaye also revealed that people who are open to dating vegans have become a hot commodity in recent years. “We also found that 91 percent of respondents over the past year were open to dating a vegan. And over the past few months, singles who said they were open to dating a vegan actually received more incoming ‘likes’ and ‘matches’ compared to those who said they weren’t,” Kaye said. “This January, thousands of people on OkCupid even opted to participate in ‘Veganuary.’ Basically, being open to dating a vegan actually makes you more attractive in 2021.”

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