Michigan’s thriving vegan food industry ranks 10th nationally

(WXYZ) – Michigan has always been known for its thriving food industry, but lately the state’s vegan trend has been gaining momentum.

A study from San Diego State University shows that Michigan ranks 10th for having a high number of vegan options across the country.

Charles Lewis, 72, has been following a plant-based diet for more than 40 years. He noticed some of the most significant changes: having more energy, focus and clarity.

Plus, eating vegetables also helps this certified firearms instructor save money.

“If you’re buying animal-based, it’s probably going to be 75% more than plant-based,” Lewis said.

Paul Shapiro, CEO of The Better Meat Co., says that by eating green vegetables, you’re also helping to save the planet.

“Raising animals for food is a driving force behind deforestation, climate change and so many other issues,” Shapiro said. “So combined with the fact that eating plant-based foods is healthy for us and for the planet, it’s fueling a surge in demand right now.”

The San Diego State University study shows Michigan has 441 vegans per 1 million people. Shapiro says the state has always been a leader with a growing number of plant-based restaurants.

“Largely because Morningstar Farms, which is one of the biggest players in the plant-based industry, is based in Michigan. It’s also interesting to note that the very first patent on plant-based meat was filed by John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan,” Shapiro said.

Data from Arizton Advisory and Intelligence shows that the plant-based meat market will reach $18 billion by 2027. North America has the largest share of the market.

“One of the largest consumer groups that consume plant-based foods is the African-American demographic,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro believes popularity has grown as more black celebrities become vegan or vegetarian. According to Kristy Stevenson, clinical dietitian for weight loss at Ascension Michigan, going green comes with a caveat.

“Oreo cookies and Lays Potato chips are vegan. But they’re lacking in those good healthy nutrients. So that’s where we worry if someone goes vegan but doesn’t eat healthy,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson agrees that a plant-based diet has many health benefits, but as long as people make wise choices. Vegetarian fast food can also be just as damaging.

“Understand that these products are equal in calories and fat to their beef counterparts, and are even higher in saturated fat and sodium,” Stevenson said.

If you’re considering making the switch to a plant-based diet, Stevenson recommends making it a gradual process by adding more vegetables to your plate, eliminating processed foods, and, once you’ve built your palate, replacing produce. of animal origin by herbal options. .