Wednesday, September 11, 2013

May Food Trends Survey – Surprising Insights.



If you were part of the UMD Health Services UMD Food Trend Survey last May you may recall that there was a question collecting details on vegetarian eating at UMD.

Here is how the percentages broke down for the 818 who took the survey
Six percent of those who responded said they would consider themselves a vegetarian

We broke that down even further to have a more detailed understanding

OF the 6% (46 respondents)
Flexitarain – 34 %  (usually eat veg but occasionally have meat)
Lacto-ovo -  28 %  (will eat eggs and dairy)
Pescatarian  - 21 %  (no animal eat, will eat fish)
Vegan – 6 %  (No meat fish eggs or dairy)
Pollo  - 4 %  (will eat poultry and some fish)
Ovo – 2 %  (include eggs no dairy)
Raw – 2 %  (eat unprocessed foods and all foods not cooked over 115 degrees)

We had zero responses saying they were lacto vegetarians, (those that eat dairy and no eggs) and zero on the macrobiotic diet (consists of grains, fruits, veg. no meat and some fish)

What was surprising you might be asking.
For me it was looking at the numbers above alongside the numbers of people with food sensitivities and allergies.

Almost 17% (128 respondents) said they have a food sensitivity or allergy.

On a VERY quick and not complete count of those with food sensitivities 51 people said they have a dairy allergy or sensitivity.  That is 5 more people than are vegetarian of any type.  It is worth mentioning that there may be some overlap of those with dairy sensitivity and those who classify themselves as vegetarians; however it does not necessary follow to be the case. There are many who do not eat dairy due to an allergy or sensitivity who do not consider themselves a vegetarian. They just don’t eat diary due to a physical reaction.

Dairy and gluten were the most common allergen or sensitivity that I saw mentioned on the list . Again, in a quick look, 28 people say they have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten/wheat. 

This was eye opening data for me for sure. I expected the numbers of vegetarian and the numbers with food sensitivities and allergies to have much less of a gap in percentages. I actually thought the vegetarian numbers would be higher than they were. In my experience of working with many who have a food allergy or sensitivity there is the feeling that pretty much anywhere we go it seems easier to find vegetarian options labeled and available, than it is to find foods or find out what is in food so we can avoid the options that make us sick or threaten our lives. Thank goodness this is something that is changing all over.

Judy Breuer

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Your comments are welcome. If you have questions or would like to be contacted personally, please email Judy at
Breu0043@d.umn.edu
and she will direct you appropriately.

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