There’s good news if you are a vegetarian or vegan and live on the East or West coasts of the United States. Cities in these regions scored highest in offering affordable and varied options for residents who adopt a plant-based diet.
A new study by WalletHub that reviewed affordability of grocery options, access to plant-based eating options in restaurants and cafes, and numbers of consumers following vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in the country’s 100 most populace cites placed the East Coast cities of New York, Washington D.C, Orlando and Miami and the West Coast cities of Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego in the top 10. Scottsdale was also among the top cities. Greensboro, Toledo, Fresno, Tulsa and Baton Rouge ranked the lowest.
But even top 10 cities didn’t fare well in all categories. New York City, which ranked No. 1, was middling in terms of affordability and costs for herbivores. Five Texas-based cities offer residents the lowest costs of vegetarian groceries. The most expensive groceries? Honolulu and San Jose.
Newark, N.J. ranked lowest in the number of restaurants serving vegetarian or vegan meals. But Orlando was No. 1 in restaurants offering vegan options and New York has the highest number of restaurants offering vegetarian meals.
If you love smoothies, then consider moving to New York, Miami, or Las Vegas. These cities host the most juice or smoothie bars per capita. And smoothies may be a great option for Honolulu residents seeking alternatives to those high-cost grocery items. It ranked fourth in the country in the number of juice and smoothie bars. Fort Wayne smoothie lovers are out of luck. The Indiana city has the lowest number of juice bar options.
The Texas city of Laredo could use more salads, according to the study, which found it ranked the lowest in the number of salad shops. And Newark could use more dedicated spaces for young plants to grow. It bottomed out, right along with Boston, for the number of vegetable nurseries per capita.
What does all this mean for the 8 million herbivores in the U.S.? The search for affordable meatless options can still be a struggle but is not impossible. Most cities offered some type of plant-based eating options. And if you can’t find it on a menu, remember, you can always cook at home.