Do vegetarians prefer Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods?

November 20, 2017

About 5% of U.S. adults consider themselves to be vegetarians—and 2% call themselves vegans, according to a poll by Gallup conducted in 2012.  Their demographics are surprising: More political Conservatives are vegetarian than are Liberals; and many more unmarried people eschew meat than those who are married.

Where do they find the food that best supports their specific diets? And what do they look for at the supermarket? According to the Vegetarian Society, an advocacy group, most members look for clear vegetarian labeling, the quality and range of veggie products, the number of specialist veggie brands stocked, and the quality and range of fresh produce.

With those factors in mind, which market is their favorite? Civic Science polled U.S. adults this year to find out.

The pollsters first identified Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s as America’s two “mainstream meccas” for vegetarians and vegans. “These chains offer products and brands that cater to plant-based lifestyles, which are not  always easy to find in your everyday supermarket,” the researchers said.

Which supermarket chain comes out the winner among the members of this picky audience?

Civic Science found that 47% of vegetarians/vegans have a favorable view of shopping at Whole Foods. In comparison, only 30% of the general population (ages 13+) has a favorable view of shopping there.

So, what about TJ’s? More than half of vegetarians/vegans (57%) have a favorable view of shopping at Trader Joe’s, which is significantly higher than the previously noted Whole Foods favorability among vegetarians/vegans (47%). It’s also much higher than Trader Joe’s favorability among the general population (35%).

Thus, according to the latest pool, Trader Joe’s comes out as the clear winner among vegetarians/vegans.Civic Science commented,It’s also worth noting that favorability for both chains is much higher among vegetarians/vegans than among the general population. So in that sense, we suppose they’re both winners.”

Research contact: jordan@civicscience.com

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