The Most Popular Plant-Based Protein Sources in America

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You’ve probably noticed that plant-based proteins are seemingly everywhere these days. Increasingly, more and more people are choosing to not eat meat as frequently, for a variety of reasons – or to eat it at all – and are turning to alternate sources of protein instead.

Protein is one of the core building blocks of a healthy diet. It provides us with energy, helps blood carry oxygen throughout the body, keeps cells healthy, helps create antibodies to fight off illness, and keeps muscles strong. When we don’t consume enough protein, it can lead to muscle loss and other health problems – a common issue for those adhering to a vegan diet. (See where that regimen falls among the most popular diets in America.)

Most people turn to steak, chicken, eggs, or other animal-based products when they’re looking to add protein to their diet. But when it comes to eating healthy, diversity is key, and there are many protein sources out there that aren’t animal-derived.

If you’ve been swapping out animal proteins for plant-based ones, you’re not alone. According to Bloomberg, the plant-based foods market could make up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of over $162 billion, buoyed in part by the increased market presence of companies like Impossible Foods and Oatly, as well as major food companies like Kellogg and Nestlé getting into the plant-based game. Many fast food restaurants are also serving vegan meat and poultry substitutes, and the number of more upscale vegan establishments is ever growing. (These are the 35 best vegan restaurants in America.)

To compile a list of the most popular plant-based protein sources in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed research conducted by Total Shape, a health and fitness resource site, analyzing Google data on the number of searches for various forms of plant-based protein over the past 12 months. Global search volume for the same sources, also from Total Shape, is given for comparison.

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