Often considered snobs or elitists, the average vegan is white, middle-class and college educated.
But the truth is, many poor countries have staple foods that are plant-based:
- Bangladesh--rice, wheat, lentils, beans
- China--rice, soybeans, green vegetables
- Ethiopia--teff, lentils, beans, potatoes
- India--rice, wheat, beans, peas
- Jamaica--yams, platains, legumes
- Nigeria--rice, millet, beans, cassava
- Turkey--eggplant, lentils, beans, tomatoes
- Vietnam--rice, tofu, beans, sprouts
So then what gives? In the United States, it really comes down to an accessibility issue. Poorer communities may rely on local liquor stores for food that don't carry soy milk or quinoa. Veggie-friendly stores like Whole Foods tend not to market to poorer communities.
The article poignantly addresses a relationship issue: the relationship with food, cooking, and convenience. Plant-based foods need preparation, whereas fast-food can be much more appealing to those with long hours, heavy commutes, and the like.
Education is also a crucial factor, as most people learn about the environmentalism and animal issues in college.
But despite popular opinion, cost is not the issue. A plant-based diet (fruits, veggies, grains, beans) can actually be more affordable than meat and dairy products. Poorer vegans may even be at a health advantage, because they are not buying heavily-processed and pricey vegan meats.