Why Purple Carrot CEO Andy Levitt Is Okay With People Only Going 80 Or 90% Vegan – Exclusive

By his own ready admission, Andy Levitt, the founder and CEO of Purple Carrot, a 100% vegan meal kit and meal delivery service, is not entirely vegan. Of course, neither are most people. According to a 2019 Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group, only about 2% of Americans identify as vegan. That's a tiny pocket of the citizenry at large, but you don't actually have to be a vegan to benefit from plant-based foods, as Levitt has discovered.

Levitt was inspired to create a vegan-friendly company for a few reasons. For one, as he explained during a recent Health Digest interview, as a businessman, Levitt saw an opportunity. "I set out as an entrepreneur with the idea that more people need to know about the value of a plant-based diet," he said. "Meal kits were really pretty new on the scene at that point, maybe a year in or so with folks like Blue Apron and HelloFresh that were these very well-funded venture-backed organizations that were going after a land grab. And my approach was to really go to the edge to differentiate on the fact that we were plant-based."

But more to the point, Levitt wanted to do good while doing well. And he knew well that a shift toward plant-based eating is good not just for the human body, but for the human home: planet earth.

The closer to the vegan diet each of us gets, the better for all

Making the switch to a plant-based diet can be great for your health. It can mean consuming less fat, healthier proteins, a richer blend of vitamins and minerals, and, according to Everyday Health, a potential reduction in blood pressure, lowered risk for heart disease and diabetes, and easier weight management. 

But it's when you look outside yourself that you may well find the best motivation to go the vegan route. "I think those who are vegan do so because of ethical beliefs, that they really understand the pain and suffering from animals who are killed for our own consumption — I admire their commitment to that," Levitt said. "For the rest of us who don't have the discipline then I think at least keeping your diet 80 to 90% plant-based is a more sustainable way to go about eating."

If you were to aim for, say, an 85% plant-based diet, that would leave 15% of your calories for animal-derived products, like meat or dairy. About 32% of the average American diet comes from animal products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (via Nutrition Facts). So the plan Levitt espouses (and lives) essentially calls for halving one's animal product consumption. And that's saying something. One study found that halving the United States' meat consumption could wind up preventing 2 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution (via Center for Biological Diversity).

Check out Purple Carrot's many meal kits and ready-made meal options.