Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Young Canadians Lead the Charge to a Meatless Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Young Canadians Lead the Charge to a Meatless Canada

Article excerpt

Young Canadians lead the charge to a meatless Canada

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Author: Sylvain Charlebois, Professor in Food Distribution and Policy, Dalhousie University

Canadians love meat. Many of us have been dedicated to our favourite protein source for years. But other sources of protein are emerging as potent alternatives to animal protein.

Demand is up for vegetable proteins like pulses, as well as for fish and seafood.

Loblaw has even started selling cricket flour, apparently trying to take insect consumption mainstream.

As a result, some believe vegetarianism and veganism may be on the rise in Canada. Not so much, it seems.

According to our recent poll at Dalhousie University, it appears that the number of vegetarians and vegans have remained the same over the last decade or so, but the number of Canadians who follow specific dietary practices is clearly on the rise over the last few years.

Results suggest that 7.1 per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 per cent vegans. These numbers are fairly consistent with several other polls conducted over the last decade or so.

Vegetarians maintain a meat-free diet, while vegans also abstain from any animal or animal-derived products, including dairy, eggs and even honey. We should note that there are several variations of vegetarianism and veganism.

But even if these percentages are not shockingly high, there is some indication that things may get more complicated in the future.

Results show that 32 per cent of Canadians do observe some sort of committed dietary regime. This number is one of the highest we've seen in recent years.

More women than men eschewing meat

Women are 1.6 times more likely to consider themselves vegetarian or vegan than men.

Level of education also seems to be a significant determinant. People with a university degree are three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than those with a high school diploma.

Consumers living in British Columbia are three times more likely to identify as vegetarians or vegans than consumers living in the Prairies or the Atlantic Region.

Wealthier people also seem to commit more to specific diets. Consumers who earn more than $150,000 per year are twice as likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than consumers earning less than $80,000.

Nothing very surprising here, but younger people are really making things interesting.

Those under 35 are three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than those 49 or older. That's a significant number.

A rise in food allergies

Experts argue that the rise of speciality diets is due to consumers associating vegetarianism and veganism not just with animal welfare, as they did in the past, but also with healthier and cleaner products. …

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