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How Much Does it Really Cost to Be a Vegan?


A vegan lifestyle has a reputation for being expensive, but thanks to Joybird’s research, the cost of following a vegan diet doesn't have to break the bank.

The Cost of a Vegan Diet vs a Non-Vegan Diet

Health and wellness are often the first things that come to mind when you hear the word resolution, especially this time of year. The Joybird team spent time exploring some of the most popular trends in diet and exercise, including the potential benefits of a vegan diet, in which a person does not consume any animal products (a.k.a. No dairy, eggs, meat, etc.). However, veganism has a reputation for being expensive, and people are often discouraged by the potential price before they even give it a shot. So, Joybird shares their exploration of how much more expensive a vegan diet is versus a non-vegan diet.

The Research

The Joybird team collected prices from local online groceries in every state to find the average cost of 10 common food items that appear on weekly grocery lists outside of produce, along with their vegan substitutes. They compared the total average cost for the 10 non-vegan and comparable vegan items to calculate the cost difference between the two grocery lists in each state. They even included items that would need a substitute, so produce wasn’t included in the study.

The non-vegan items in the study include Greek yogurt, ground beef patties, shredded mozzarella cheese, ice cream, spreadable butter, chicken nuggets, coffee creamer, turkey slices, whole milk, and Italian sausage. The vegan items include dairy-free yogurt, meat-free burger patties, dairy-free shredded mozzarella cheese, non-dairy ice cream, buttery spread, meat-free chicken nuggets, almond milk coffee creamer, veggie turkey slices, almond milk, and tofurkey Italian sausage. 

The prices come from Walmart groceries in up to 10 zip codes in each state, in both urban and rural areas in each state. The numbers reflect prices only, taken from the retailers, and do not include any additional taxes or fees that may be incurred. Pricing data was, unfortunately, unavailable for Hawaii.

What They Found

Cost in every state

The national average difference between the vegan and non-vegan food items came in at $12.02. 22 states’ difference fell above the national average, with the rest falling below. 

The state with the largest cost difference between the vegan and non-vegan items is Alaska with an average difference of $14.84. The next four states with the largest difference in cost are Arkansas ($14.53), Arizona ($14.31), Michigan ($13.57), and Wyoming ($13.23).  

The state with the smallest cost difference between the vegan and non-vegan items is Louisiana with an average difference of $9.82. The next four states with the smallest difference in cost are Massachusetts ($10.52), Nevada ($10.60), New Hampshire ($10.66), and California ($10.68). It was most surprising to see a state like California in the bottom 5 since they’re often known for higher than average prices, but it’s likely that they have a larger vegan population, so they need to cater to that accordingly. 

Cost in every region

The Joybird team also compared the average cost difference in each U.S. region. The Northeast has the smallest difference in price in vegan and non-vegan items with an average of $11.41. The Midwest and the West tied for the most expensive, with a difference of $12.26, which is still only slightly higher than the national average.

You can see the details of how your state’s average costs for non-vegan and vegan food items compare to the rest of the country in the chart below.

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Overall, there ended up being no great difference in cost between the non-vegan and vegan food items, showing you don’t have to break the bank to adopt a healthier eating plan! 

Whether you choose to try out a vegan or vegetarian diet in the New Year or opt for a meat-friendly meal plan instead, your food choices should be a reflection of who you are and what you believe in.

Thank you @Joybird for contributing this article! Find the source here: https://joybird.com/blog/cost-to-be-a-vegan/

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