The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on April 29, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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 is testing a vegan burger in Florida, and Ben and Jerry’s 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 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. However, based on our other research outside this poll, it’s not enough just to offer meatless items. Businesses also have to cater to various needs, which may include price, health, convenience, source of ingredients, taste, religious requirements, etc. And since there is a large segment which did not say they consume vegetarian meals, marketing is more complex because of such different audiences.

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 our 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.

PEOPLE WHO NEVER EAT MEAT, FISH, SEAFOOD OR POULTRY (Total number of vegetarians, including vegans.)

3.3% Total* (About one half of the vegetarians are also vegan. Vegans also don’t consume dairy and eggs, as well as not eating, meat, fish, seafood, or poultry.)
3.2% of U.S. adult males are vegetarian
3.5% of U.S. adult females are vegetarian
5.4% of adults living in the Northeast are vegetarian**
2.3% of adults living in the South are vegetarian
2.3% of adults living in the Midwest are vegetarian
3.7% of adults living in the West are vegetarian
5.3% of U.S. adults ages 18-34 are vegetarian
3.1% of U.S. adults ages 35-44 are vegetarian
2.2% of U.S. adults ages 45-54 are vegetarian
2.7% of U.S. adults ages 55-64 are vegetarian
1.8% of U.S. adults ages 65 plus are vegetarian
3% of U.S. adults who identify as Black are vegetarian
3% of U.S. adults who identify as Hispanic are vegetarian

* Though you can’t really compare polls year to year because of sampling error, this year we found out 3.3% of respondents were vegetarian (including vegan), while last year we came up with 3.4% in a Harris Poll.

** The Northeast Includes CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, and WV. The Midwest includes IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, and WI. The South includes AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA. The West includes AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WY, and WA.


37% Total ***
15% Sometimes or always eats vegan meals when eating out.
34% Male
39% Female
42% Northeast
34% Southeast
33% Midwest
39% West
43% Ages 18-34
39% Ages 35-44
33% Ages 45-54
33% Ages 55-64
32% Ages 65 plus
32% Black
38% Hispanic

*** Though you can’t really compare polls year to year because of sampling error and the difference in the poll, this year we found out 37% of the population always or sometimes eats vegetarian (including vegan) meals when eating out, while last year
in our Harris Poll we found that 36% of the population (including vegetarians and vegans) ate vegetarian meals (including vegan) one or more times per week.

If we look at what percentage of the survey respondents come from a state and compare that to the percentage of respondents eating vegetarian meals who come from that state, we find the numbers are similar. The one outlier was New York, with 6% of respondents from New York, but 9% of those surveyed sometimes or always eating vegetarian meals when eating out from New York.


NORTHEAST 21% 27% 25%
MIDWEST 22% 19% 19%
SOUTH 34% 33% 31%
WEST 23% 21% 25%

It seems compared to percentage of population, generally each section of the country proportionately contributes to the number of people eating vegan and vegetarian meals out, though the Northeast has a little higher percentage of people sometimes or always eating vegetarian and vegan meals out.

For information on more polls, see

Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Booths at Baltimore VegFest and New England VegFest this Weekend!

Posted on April 29, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


The Vegetarian Resource Group continues to be very busy doing vegan education. We will be at these two events this weekend. Stop by the VRG booth and say hello.

Baltimore VegFest
UMBC Campus on Erickson Field
1000 Hilltop Cir, Catonsville, MD 21228
Saturday, April 30, 2016

New England VegFest
Worcester, MA
Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Consider Giving Your Mom a Vegan Cookbook from The Vegetarian Resource Group Book Catalog for Mother’s Day

Posted on April 28, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Whether your mom is vegan or interested in adding more vegan cuisine to her diet, consider purchasing a book from the VRG online Book Catalog. The Vegetarian Resource Group Book Catalog offers a wide range of vegan books including:

Vegan Brunch
Vegan Meals for One or Two
More Fabulous Beans
Soups On!
Simply Vegan
Grills Gone Vegan
Artisan Vegan Cheese
Nona’s Italian Kitchen
Gluten-Free Tips and Tricks for Vegans
Teff Love
The Natural Vegan Kitchen
Asian Fusion
The Joy of Vegan Baking
The Indian Vegan Kitchen
Vegan Soul Kitchen
The 4-Ingredient Vegan
The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
The Almond Milk Cookbook
Food Allergy Survival Guide
The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book

And so many more….

FREE media mail shipping for orders over $30 in the United States only!
Visit to order books online and support VRG’s outreach at the same time!

Job Openings at

Posted on April 28, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Hi! I am the Executive Director at, and we are hiring three new positions: a Volunteer Director, Development Director, and a Social Media Director. All of the information for each of the postings is listed here:

Katie Schloer
Executive Director


Posted on April 27, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Green Festival is committed to supporting inspiring organizations and projects that educate and benefit their local communities with The Green Festival Community Award, a $5,000 grant awarded to a deserving non-profit, chosen by the public!

The Green Festival Community Award is a great way to gain exposure, support, and resources for new or ongoing projects. Organizations get up close and personal with the community through extensive online outreach and social media recognition, and in person, as finalists meet and greet with Green Festival attendees to pitch their ideas. Projects must be locally-based, with creative ideas, measurable goals, and a direct benefit to the local, sustainable community.

Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group Booth #435 at the Washington DC Green Festival May 6th-8th, 2016

Posted on April 27, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


Kick off the 12th annual DC Green Festival with live cooking demonstrations, vegan/vegetarian food & over 250 sustainable businesses showcasing their products! Use code VRG16 for 20% OFF your ticket

Great Sage Benefit Day By Hana Takemoto

Posted on April 26, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


On a beautiful Sunday morning, I volunteered for The Vegetarian Resource Group at Great Sage, a fully vegan restaurant part of the Conscious Corner located in Clarksville, Maryland. Conscious Corner is a family of businesses dedicated to promoting healthy and mindful living by focusing on animal welfare, the environment, and community. Great Sage’s bold brunch menu features international flavors and organic ingredients with dishes such as a decadent cinnamon roll, a Cajun “chicken” sandwich, soba noodle salad, and much more. Along with hosting live music events that feature local musicians, Great Sage also supports non-profit organizations by hosting benefit days. On April 17, 2016, Great Sage hosted a benefit day for The Vegetarian Resource Group to which they donated 10% of proceeds of the day’s sales.

As a high school intern, I greatly benefited from volunteering and spending time with VRG’s dietetic intern, who answered my countless questions about vegan diets during our time at the restaurant. We discussed everything from the importance of B12 for vegans and dietitian certification levels to farmers’ markets, Thanksgiving, and recipes for coconut bacon and avocado pie crust. Situated near the waiting area, we attracted a number of patrons who took interest in the VRG literature we set out, including pamphlets, recipe books, the Vegetarian Journal, and restaurant guides. The younger restaurant-goers enjoyed VRG’s coloring book I Love Animals and Broccoli. It was an honor to spend my Sunday surrounded by friendly and inquisitive patrons in the warm and inviting atmosphere of Great Sage, and I hope to visit the restaurant again soon to enjoy a satisfying vegan meal! For information about Great Sage, see

If you would like to volunteer to help with other outreach, please contact Brigette at

If you would like to support the distribution of coloring books and other materials, please donate at


Posted on April 26, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

I just wanted to give you an update about tempeh, etc. First of all my partner/husband Gunter Pfaff passed away last May, 2015 from fast acting bladder cancer. Gunter was the poster person of all things tempeh having patented a new way of making tempeh that we later called Betsy’s Tempeh and were in business in Michigan for 9 1/2 years. We then retired to California and Gunter then worked on another tempeh project that he filed a patent on. We then connected with a group that was able to take our idea to the next level and called it TempehSure. They will begin producing the units probably by late fall of 2016. They introduced the tempeh incubator at the Natural Products Expo food show in Anaheim in March and many chefs said they are anxious to have one in their kitchen. We always thought it would be great to have a small unit so people could start making their own artisan tempeh for the local community.

Take a look at their website which will give you a history of who they are and the people that are involved with the project. Meanwhile I still have our website showing our easy method for making tempeh:

Since The Vegetarian Resource Group has such great outreach and I respect what you are doing I thought you would be interested in knowing what both Gunter and I have been up to these many years.


United Nations chooses Chef Ron Pickarski To Promote Pulses

Posted on April 25, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Madeline St. John

Do you like beans? If so, this year is the year for you. In its 68th session, the United Nations has proclaimed 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Pulses are leguminous crops used for food and feed that grow their seeds in pods, such as lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. The objective of this International Year is to encourage collaboration around pulses, promote their use, and educate the public on the importance and benefits of their use in sustainable food production.

As one of their projects for the year-long celebration, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN is printing a book to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of pulses. For this project, they have selected a small team of chefs to be the faces of the publication, from ten countries around the world. Representing the United States, Chef Ron Pickarski will be featured with recipes from his new cookbook, which, in his words, is “very pro-bean.”

For information on Ron Pickarski’s book The Classical Vegetarian Cookbook, see:

Which Dishes are Vegan in Naked Lunch Cafe Located in Some Mom’s Organic Market Stores in the Mid-Atlantic Region?

Posted on April 25, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

A VRG reader contacted Mom’s Naked Lunch Cafe regarding their menu not clearly distinguishing between vegan and vegetarian food.
In response, they sent her this chart that you might find useful. Items with green checks under the vegan column are vegan.

For more information on Mom’s, see


  • Donate

  • Subscribe to the blog by RSS


    Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes, ingredient information, reviews of new products, announcements of new books, free samples of products, and other VRG materials.

    Your E-mail address:
    Your Name (optional):

↑ Top