Study: Financial Constraints Not Necessarily a Barrier to Following a Plant-Based Diet

A new study has found that “financial constraints are not necessarily a barrier to switching to a more plant-based diet.”

The study was published in the most recent issue of the journal Nutrients, as well as on the website for the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Titled Food Costs of Children and Adolescents Consuming Vegetarian, Vegan or Omnivore Diets: Results of the Cross-Sectional VeChi Youth Study, it was conducted by researchers at the University of Bonn, the University of Applied Sciences, the Research Institute of Plant-Based Nutrition, Witten Herdecke University and Charité-Universitätsmedizin, all located in Germany.

“The aim was to analyze the total food costs and the impact of food groups on total food costs among vegetarian, vegan and omnivore children and adolescents in Germany”, says the study.

“Based on three-day weighed dietary records of 6-18-year-old children and adolescents of the VeChi Youth Study, the total daily food costs and food group costs (both EUR/day, EUR/1000 kcal) of a vegetarian (n = 145 records), vegan (n = 110) and omnivore (n = 135) diet were calculated.” Minimum retail prices of 1000 empirically selected foods reported in the dietary records were linked.

Researchers found that although vegans had the highest energy adjusted total food costs at 2.98 EUR/1000 kcal, “the total costs did not differ significantly between omnivores and vegans”.

Vegetarians had the lowest adjusted food cost at 2.52 EUR/1000 kcal, while Omnivores had a higher costs than vegetarians with 2.83 EUR/1000 kcal.

“Compared to vegetarians, vegans had significantly higher expenditures (EUR/day) on fruit , vegetables , dairy alternatives and legumes/nuts/seeds”, states the study. “Expenditure on starchy foods was significantly higher in the vegetarian or vegan than in the omnivore diet. Omnivores spent a quarter of their total food costs on animal source foods (25%), which is equivalent to the sum of food costs for legumes/nuts/seeds, dairy alternatives and meat alternatives in vegans and additionally dairy in vegetarians.”

The study concludes by stating that the “VeChi Youth Study indicated that financial constraints are not necessarily a barrier to switching to a more plant-based diet.”

More information on this study, including its full abstract, can be found by clicking here.