For years, plant-based foods have reigned supreme in the health food arena. Touted for their natural goodness and lack of side effects, they’ve become a staple for many.

However, recent research shows that even plant-based foods, particularly when they’re ultra-processed, might contribute to chronic diseases. This is a stark contrast to the common perception that “plant-based equals healthy.”

This intriguing shift prompted Real Research, an online survey app, to delve deeper into consumer awareness and perspectives on this topic.

Key Findings:

  • Despite the awareness regarding the study on plant-based foods linked to chronic diseases, most people still consume plant-based foods.
  • Over 60% agree that a plant-based diet doesn’t always equal a healthy diet.
  • 9 in 10 show interest in switching to fresh or minimally processed plant-based options.

Are plant-based foods linked to chronic diseases?

The survey revealed that 67.12% of respondents were aware of the emerging research on ultra-processed, plant-based foods linked to chronic diseases. Interestingly, despite this newfound awareness, plant-based options remain popular, with 68.96% reporting consuming plant-based foods.

Figure 1: Percentage of respondents consuming plant-based food

Is plant-based food healthy?

Further aligning with the concept of plant-based foods linked to chronic diseases, a majority (64.68%) agreed with UK dietician Duane Mellor’s statement that a plant-based diet doesn’t always equal a healthy diet. Sugar, for example, is a prime illustration – it’s plant-based but hardly health-promoting.

Read Also: 31.83% of the Respondents are Dietary Vegans – Survey Results

Figure 2: Do you agree that plant-based food isn’t always healthy?

Do plant-based burgers need a warning label?

The survey also shed light on the marketing of plant-based products. Over half (55.52%) felt food manufacturers do not adequately highlight the health risks associated with ultra-processed, plant-based foods linked to chronic diseases.

Furthermore, a strong majority (89.5%) – combining those who answered “absolutely” and “somewhat” – believe manufacturers should do more to educate consumers on this issue.

Who wants more plants on their plate?

ultra-processed, plant-based-options
Figure 3: Likelihood to replace ultra-processed,plant-based options with fresh or minimally processed plant-based foods.

The good news? There’s a strong willingness to shift towards healthier choices. When presented with the possibility of replacing ultra-processed options with fresh or minimally processed plant-based foods, a staggering 91% (combining “highly likely” and “somewhat likely” responses) expressed interest in making this switch.


Survey TitleSurvey on Plant-based Foods Linked to Heart & Other Diseases
DurationJune 17 – June 25, 2024
Number of Participants5,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.