Note from the Coordinators

Reader Survey Results

Debra Wasserman
Charles Stahler

Over 700 Vegetarian Journal readers took time to fill out the survey we printed in our March/April 1997 issue. After weeks of tabulating, here are some results.

Of the 717 responses, 81% are vegetarian/vegan and 19% are non-vegetarians. Thirty-four percent of the respondents are vegan; however, about half this figure includes individuals that consume some honey (which is not vegan).

Three percent of the vegetarian/vegan respondents have been vegetarian/ vegan less than one year; 28% between one and four years; 39% between five and ten years; 13% between eleven and fifteen years; and 28% have been vegetarian/vegan over sixteen years. The majority of the respondents are between the ages of 20 and 59.

Only 19% of the survey respondents are male. About 94% are Caucasian and the remaining 6% are African-American, Latino, Asian, etc.

Vegetarian Journal readers are highly educated. Thirty-five percent completed a college degree; 27% finished their master's degree; and 5% completed either their Ph.D. or M.D. program. Another 24% attended some college.

More than a third of the survey respondents have white-collar jobs. About 13% are Catholic; 15% are Protestant; and 14% are Jewish. At least 40% of the survey respondents said they considered themselves not affiliated to any religion.

Interestingly, about half of the survey group said they would be interested in participating in animal rights/vegetarian/environmental protests and the other half said they would not. About 30% of the respondents say they never do volunteer work, while 25% do at least one to five hours of volunteer work per month and 16% do at least 11 hours of volunteering per month.

Six percent of the respondents eat red meat, 5% eat pork, 16% eat fish, 9% eat chicken, 9% eat turkey, 2% eat duck, 13% eat seafood, 57% eat dairy products, 49% eat eggs, 56% eat honey, 5% smoke cigarettes, 51% drink wine, 36% drink beer, 36% drink other alcohol, 37% take prescription drugs, and 82% take vitamins at least once a year.

One third have vegetarian/vegan mates, 14% have vegetarian/vegan daughters, and 11% have vegetarian/vegan sons. Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to be interested in vegetarian diets and few family members are hostile towards a vegetarian diet.

About 82% are interested in vegetarianism because of health, 75% because of ethics, the environment, and animal rights, 31% because of taste, and 26% because of economics. About 43% of the respondents do not use leather and 40% do not wear silk, while 33% do not use wool, and 26% do not consume honey.

Many of you shop at natural foods stores, large health food supermarkets (more would if they existed in their area), and supermarkets. Fewer of the respondents shop at farmer's markets and through mail order catalogs. Only 15% of the respondents ever shop via the Internet or e-mail. If a company develops a new product respondents would most likely buy it if it is vegan or vegetarian, a healthy product, and if it is organic and tastes good. Price, convenience, packaging, and other factors were less significant. Most respondents said they would definitely not buy a product if it contained meat, fish, or fowl, and to a lesser extent eggs and dairy products. Excess packaging was also a significant reason not to buy a product.

Debra Wasserman and Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group