Children are our future - at least according to Whitney Houston. So when it comes to creating a sustainable food system (someday! maybe! hopefully!), young people matter.
That's why the results of the Vegetarian Resource Group's (VRG) recent study on youth eating habits is particularly interesting. The national online survey polled over 1,200 U.S youth ages 8-18. Check out the results after the jump.
The pollers (Harris Poll) asked kiddos to choose from the following options:
1) You never eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry.
2) You don't eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at one meal per week.
3) You don't eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry one full day per week.
4) You don't eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at many of your meals,
but less than half the time.
5) You don't eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at more than half of
your meals, but not all the time.
6) You never eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy, or eggs.
7) Not any of the above. No answer.
The results were interesting. 32% of U.S. youth said they eat vegetarian meals at least once a week, while four percent called themselves full-time vegetarians (meaning they never eat any meat, fish, seafood, or poultry). Vegans are included in this number, and total about one percent of youth responders.
Though the polls were different (so it's tough to do a direct comparison) the VRG's 1995 survey showed under two percent of youth as being vegetarian.
Based on US Census numbers, this means there are about two million vegetarians in the U.S. 8-18 years old, while about 15 million eat one or more vegetarian meals per week.
The numbers for youth are a bit lower than amongst the adult population, where 41% (18 to 34 year-olds) eat one or more vegetarian meals per week (as of 2012).
"We would say that vegetarian eating is a trend here to stay," says VRG's Charles Stahler. "Currently, people have different tastes and desires, so businesses have to adapt to meeting different kinds of needs, rather than one answer for everybody."
(And for meatless-minded youngsters, the VRG does offer an annual scholarship contest. One of this year's winners was actually from Florida. )
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.
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