Document Type


Publication Date



United States of America - 840


People have a variety of motivations for switching to plant-based diets, yet not all people who begin the transition to a vegan or vegetarian (collectively called veg*n) diet maintain it long-term. In fact, Faunalytics’ study of current and former veg*ns (2014) found that the number of lapsed (former) vegans and vegetarians in the United States far surpasses the number of current veg*ns, and most who lapse do so within a year. Are these people the low-hanging fruit for diet advocates? They could be—there are many of them and they’re clearly at least somewhat willing to go veg*n, so maybe more attention should be paid to the lapsers.

That’s one possibility. The other, more pessimistic possibility, is that when we as advocates think our diet campaigns are successful, these are the people we think we’re convincing. That is, we see the part where they go veg*n, but not the part where they later lapse back. This interpretation is one that a lot of people made when our study of current and former veg*ns released, but we don’t have strong evidence either way.

This analysis, in which we looked at the obstacles faced by people who once pursued a veg*n diet and what they would need to resume being veg*n, aims to shed a bit more light on these questions. Although causes for lapsing have been analyzed to an extent, a deeper analysis that considers people’s reasons in their own words is necessary to not only understand why people give up their veg*n goals, but to find the best ways to help people stick with their commitment to veg*nism and even lure back some of the lapsers.