These Are the Top 3 Countries Embracing Vegan Food

New research has revealed populations in the U.S., China, and India are likely to embrace new methods of meat production such as vegan and cell-based meat.

The survey of 3,000 individuals conducted by the University of Bath, the Center for Long Term Priorities, and the Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of plant-based food and cellular agriculture, was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 

Which Populations Are the ‘Most Vegan’?

The study asked participants from the three most populous nations — the U.S., China, and India — their feelings on vegan and clean meat. Asia is expected to be an important region as meat consumption is expected to climb in the coming years.

Sixty-two percent of respondents in China and 63 percent in India responded that they are “very or extremely likely to purchase plant-based meat regularly.” The U.S. trailed behind at 33 percent. Individuals were less interested in clean meat: 30 percent for the U.S., 59 percent for China, and 49 percent for India.

A vegan pork dumpling by Hong Kong’s Right Treat. | image/Omnipork

Vegan Food in the U.S., India, and China

The GFI concluded that the countries have “robust consumer interest” in vegan and clean meat, but the study notes that those recruited for the questionnaire in China and India were from “disproportionately urban, high income, and well-educated” communities.

Participants in every country were found to be more comfortable with the idea of vegan food when it’s something familiar. Plant-based burgers are boosting sales in restaurants across the U.S.; Hong Kong-based brand Right Treat makes Omnipork, a vegan version of China’s post popular protein; Indian food startup Good Dot makes meatless meats versatile enough for use in a wide variety of recipes.

A clean meat presence is also growing in all three countries. Memphis Meats, Blue Nalu, and JUST in the U.S.; Dao Foods International in China; and the GFI and the Institute of Chemical Technology are expected to open a clean meat facility in Mumbai next year.

The Plant-Based Appeal

What’s driving the increased acceptance of vegan and new food technology?

Chinese respondents perceived vegan meat as healthier than the traditional version and many expect clean meat to have a higher nutritional value. Those in favor of meatless meat in India were more concerned with sustainability and the ethics of meat production. In the U.S., 91 percent of those interested in vegan meat were omnivores while clean meat was appealing to individuals with “high meat attachment.”

The study reveals how the way marketing vegan meat in different countries will be essential, according to GFI.