Jan. 28 (UPI) -- As restaurants nationwide add them to menus, plant-based "meats" are becoming increasingly popular in the United States -- where more than 40 percent of adults have eaten them at least once, a new survey showed Tuesday.
Gallup research said 41 percent have tried a plant-based meat -- whether it be a substitute for beef or pork -- and they are mostly among upper-income young adults and those living in American suburbs.
Plant-based meats are rising in popularity, with fast food chains like Burger King and McDonald's adding or testing them for their menus -- and Gallup's survey said most who have tried them would eat them again.
Researchers found, however, a dividing line according to age. Forty-seven percent of respondents 18-29 and 50 percent of those 30-49 said they have eaten the plant-based food. That share, though, tumbles to 38 percent among adults aged 50-64 and 26 percent over the age of 65.
Gallup said income also appears to be a factor. Fifty-four percent of those making at least $100,000 said they have tried plant-based meats -- compared to 44 percent for adults between $40,000 and $100,000. The figure for those making less than $40,000 drops to 31 percent.
Gallup said of those who have tried it, six in 10 said they're very likely or somewhat likely to eat it again. Forty percent said they were less likely or not at all likely.
"Economists' projections of high growth for the plant-based meat industry appear well-founded, given the initial level of interest Gallup has measured," Gallup researchers Justin McCarthy and Scott DeKoster said. "The fact that around 60 percent of those who have eaten plant-based meat would do so again is good news for a young industry seeking to expand."
Gallup polled more than 2,400 adults living in the United States for the survey, which has a margin of error of 2 points.