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Friday, September 16, 2011

SF Has Fewer Vegetarians and Vegans than Rest of US

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM

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Get this: San Francisco has fewer vegetarians and vegans per capita -- and more fast food junkies -- than the rest of the US, according to an online survey.

The deal site LivingSocial released these provocative results yesterday, from a survey of 4000 diners in 20 large cities across the US, including 200 in San Francisco.

Of those 200, only 6 -- 3 percent -- identified themselves as vegetarian or vegan. This is below the national average of 5 percent and well below the vegetarian leader, Washington DC.

"This survey shows that maybe what we think is the case about some cities isn't true," said LivingSocial spokesperson Kathryn Watson. "You might think of San Francisco as having a lot of vegans, but maybe the person in the cubicle next to you in DC is quietly eating a vegan lunch."

Laura Beck, SFoodie's Week in Vegan columnist and a founder of Vegansaurus, said, "I totally believe that because SF isn't as liberal as people like to think it is... we're a bunch of faux-hippie consumerists. Let's all move to Portland!"

Portland, though, wasn't on the list of 20 cities. San Francisco finished 13th in vegans/vegetarians, behind not only obvious cities like New York and LA, but shockers like Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Tampa and Dallas. (Go, vegan Cowboys!)

Another shocking fact: San Francisco came in 4th of the 20 cities in self-described "Fast Food Junkies," taking up 23 percent of our population compared to 19 percent nationally. Maybe what we need here isn't more Herbivores and Millenniums, but Subways and Chipotles?

People were allowed to choose more than one of the nine possible ways to describe themselves. Personally I would have first chosen "Locavore," and we lead the nation in those at 21 percent, but that came in only seventh here of the nine categories available. We're also the national leader in "Health Nut" (25 percent) and second in "Foodie" (33 percent, does SFoodie count?).

A few other notes:

* SF diners don't eat out for breakfast much, just 0.73 times per week, compared to 0.84 for the rest of the US.

* We rank only 18th in the nation in Meat Lovers with 41 percent -- but that's still the No. 1 way SF diners describe themselves, hence the success of Bacon Bacon. Meat Lover is also the No. 1 way Americans as a nation describe ourselves.

* SF diners choose Mexican as our top cuisine when eating out, followed by Chinese and Italian. Nationally, it's Italian, Mexican, Chinese, in that order.

* The most dubious result of many is that for both SF and the US as a whole, while the No. 1 "new type of cuisine tried when dining out" is Thai, No. 2 is Italian. Who makes it to age 18 here without trying Italian food?

* We lead the nation in the consumption of several cuisines: sushi, Thai, Indian, French, Vietnamese, tapas and Korean. Anybody know some place where we can get all of those together? But not for breakfast -- we don't eat out for that. And make sure they're all full of meeeeeeat.

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W. Blake Gray


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