Here's why more and more Americans are choosing to eat less meat

If you've been reaching for fruits and vegetables in favor of meat and dairy during the Covid-19 pandemic, you're far from alone. A recent survey of 2,000 Americans found that over half (57%) are eating fewer animal products since the pandemic began. Nearly six in 10 find themselves transitioning to a more flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, diet centered around plant foods instead of meat. When it came to the motivations for plant-based purchases, half of respondents cited making a healthier food choice, while about four in ten said these purchases were driven by a desire to eat fewer animal products (42%) and wanting to live a more sustainable lifestyle (39%). Commissioned by JUST and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found that many respondents are going plant-based during a somewhat unexpected meal: breakfast. The new research revealed that half of respondents eat a plant-based breakfast. The most popular plant-based breakfast choices included oatmeal, fruit, pancakes made using plant-based ingredients, granola and french toast made using plant-based ingredients. While seven in 10 respondents agreed breakfast is the most important meal of the day, six in 10 admitted that breakfast is the one meal where they eat the same thing every day and rarely, if ever, switch things up. The results also dispelled the notion that plant-based products aren't as tasty, or are more difficult to cook with. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they crave the taste of plant-based products or ingredients weekly. Nearly six in 10 (58%) experiment with plant-based foods regularly. And sixty percent of respondents admit to liking the plant-based version of a food better than the real thing. The data also revealed that sixty-two percent of respondents "frequently" buy plant-based products when grocery shopping. Additionally, the survey probed respondents' openness to completely plant-based lifestyles, with some surprising results. On average, respondents say they'll transition to eating fully plant-based diets in five years' time. They say the rest of society will take 12 years, on average, to do the same.