How Can Meat and Vegetarian Food Markets Be Rising Simultaneously?

A few weeks ago Karen Davis sent around an e-mail promoting United Poultry Concerns’ annual conference. In the midst of the e-mail was this fascinating paragraph which really does a good job of outlining exactly how much effect the animal rights movement has had over the past quarter century (emphasis added),

Thirteen years later [after UPC’s founding] , the number of animals on US farms is 10 billion, and meat consumption is record high. Government statistics show that in 2000, Americans, per person, ate 195 pounds of red meat, poultry, and fish, 57 pounds above annual consumption in the 1950s. At the same time, “there is a proliferation of vegetarian products,” says food trend watcher Dr. Jonathan Seltzer, and a 2000 consumer report predicted the vegetarian market will grow 100 percent to 125 percent over the next five years, with vegetarian food sales topping $1.25 billion in 2001, thanks to a US vegetarian population of 7 million to 12 million people (Free Press, July 30, 2002).

Seven to twelve million might sound like a lot of vegetarians, but it is a range of only 2.7 to 4.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The size of the vegetarian food market is interesting, however I wonder just how much of that food is being sold to vegetarians vs. non-vegetarians. I know I can’t be the only person in American whose had a Boca burger and a steak in the same week. If anyone knows of any market studies that have attempted to estimate the percentage of vegetarian food sales that are made to non-vegetarians, please e-mail me at [email protected].


United Poultry Concerns’ Forum on Promoting Veganism. Press Release, Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns, August 2003.

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