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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SF Vegans Are More Loud than Numerous

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge San Franciscans as a whole prefer meat to vegetables - MARIN SUN FARMS
  • Marin Sun Farms
  • San Franciscans as a whole prefer meat to vegetables

We hear from vegans all the time at SFoodie, often at great length, not least because we run Laura Beck's delightfully profane Week in Vegan column. But we've always wondered how important they really are.

Not very, it turns out.

I was stunned by a poll last week that showed San Francisco, with just 3 percent vegans and vegetarians, has fewer per capita than Dallas, Tampa and Atlanta. So I decided to recreate the same poll on our site.

There was one inadvertent difference, for which I apologize. I tried to set up the third-party polling software to allow you to choose more than one of the eight categories, as LivingSocial's poll did, but apparently it didn't work. Our categories were the same, but you could choose only one.

Vegans and vegetarians told all their friends to vote; we saw some of the messages. And they did rock our vote -- to the still-unimpressive total of 6.96 percent.

Now, media is a business like any other, and nearly 1 in 14 readers is not insignificant. Vegans matter, for sure. Just not as much as they think they do.

The top category for our readers is the rather generic "foodie," with 26.37 percent. I'd wager that it would actually be higher -- maybe above 90 percent -- if some people aren't tired of that overly broad term. I get email or comments from hundreds of you, at least 26.37 percent of it uninsulting, and I think I can safely say that the only thing that unites us is that we all care deeply about food.

If it makes vegans feel better, "meat lover" did significantly worse in our poll -- 10.99 percent -- than it did in LivingSocial's, where it topped the table at 41 percent.

I'm really not surprised to see that "fast food junkies" make up only 1.1 percent of our audience, compared to 23 percent of LivingSocial's. I personally picked "locavore," and that finished second behind "foodie," at 15.38 percent. This feels like validation because we try to make SFoodie a site that focuses on local food products and purveyors; I'm glad to know that's important to you.

You can see the rest of the results, like the fact that we have more "sweet tooths" (teeth?) than "health nuts," here. Read 'em and weep, vegans. You can keep writing 500-word comments, but changing your Internet nickname for each one won't fool me.

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W. Blake Gray

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