Vegepreneurs Set Their Sights Beyond Food

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Vegetarians represent a small minority of the U.S. population, but their numbers have been increasing steadily, from about 1 percent in 1994 to 4 percent this year, according to a survey commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a Baltimore nonprofit. Restaurateurs have long capitalized on their demand, and chains such as Native Foods Café and Veggie Grill are thriving in cities like Boulder, Colo., Chicago, and Seattle. Meat and dairy-substitute brands including Morningstar Farms and Silk have cleaned up, too: U.S. consumers spent about $2.6 billion on soy foods and beverages in 2011, according to market researcher Mintel.

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