(NBC) – According to a new study from Vegetarian Times, about 3.2 percent – or 7.9 million Americans – now follow a vegetarian diet.
And an additional ten percent, or 22.8 million people, say they are on a vegetarian-inclined diet.
This growing trend is changing what restaurants are putting on their menus and what food manufacturers are putting on supermarket shelves.
Many people become vegetarian for health or ethical reasons, but the Institute of Foot Technologies says improved technology is allowing manufacturers to make a larger selection of prepared vegetarian meals on supermarket shelves.
Pressure for restaurants to offer healthier options combined with the rising cost of meat has pushed more fruits and vegetable-based meals onto menus.
The National Restaurant Association says nearly three-quarters of people surveyed are more likely to choose a restaurant that offers healthy options.