The world is evolving, or at least Canada is 😁. Vegetarians and vegans now account for nearly 10% of Canada’s population, and their increased presence is forcing the restaurant and meat production industries to consider new approaches.
According to research from Dalhousie University, there are 2.3 million vegetarians in Canada, up from 900,000 15 years ago. Another 850,000 people consider themselves vegan. Those two numbers add up to 9.4% of the Canadian population.
Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie, says the most “disturbing fact” for meatmakers is that the majority of Canadian vegetarians and vegans are under the age of 35. That, he says, means that the increases in vegetarians’ ranks will likely only ramp up as today’s vegetarians become a bigger part of society.
“Likely they’ll be raising children the way that they’re eating themselves,” he told CTV’s Your Morning.
Charlebois says there are several reasons more and more people are choosing to go meat free, with one of the most common being animal welfare concerns. When people who have spent little time on farms themselves see footage of animal abuse, he says, it can influence their perceptions of meat-eating.
Other factors cited by Charlebois include the rising prices of beef and other meats, environmental concerns and personal health.
“I can’t remember the last time I read a study suggesting that we should eat more meat,” he said. “The scientific evidence seems to be pretty strong encouraging people to eat more vegetable proteins.”
Vegetable proteins, such as lentils and chick peas, are often eaten by people who have cut meat out of their diet and want to maintain a healthy level of protein consumption.