THE VE­G­ANS ARE COM­ING

Age and area im­pact di­etary choices, poll shows

StarMetro Vancouver - - News -

Age, place im­pact food choices: Study

Younger Cana­di­ans are far more likely to be vege­tar­i­ans or ve­g­ans than older gen­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey that a re­searcher says is among the first of its kind.

The poll, con­ducted for Dal­housie Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Dr. Syl­vain Charlebois, re­ported that 7.1 per cent of Cana­di­ans con­sider them­selves vege­tar­i­ans, and 2.3 per cent con­sider them­selves ve­g­ans — lev­els he says were not pre­vi­ously known.

“I’m not aware of a sci­en­tific study around veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan rates in Canada specif­i­cally,” said Charlebois, adding he be­lieves those lev­els have gen­er­ally stayed the same over the past decade, based on U.S. and Euro­pean polls and lit­er­a­ture.

“As we were col­lect­ing data, we started to re­al­ize that this is rich data that will help us un­der­stand where ve­g­an­ism and veg­e­tar­i­an­ism is go­ing in the coun­try.”

And in what Charlebois char­ac­ter­ized as “mind­blow­ing,” the re­port also showed that of the Cana­di­ans who iden­ti­fied as vege­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans, more than half were un­der the age of 35.

“Those are re­ally, re­ally high num­bers,” said Charlebois, whose re­search top­ics in­clude food dis­tri­bu­tion and food pol­icy.

“Even though we be­lieve the over­all rates have not gone up, they could go up over the next cou­ple of decades as a re­sult of see­ing such a high num­ber of young con­sumers com­mit­ting to spe­cialty di­ets .... That will ac­tu­ally im­pact food de­mand over the next few decades and I sus­pect the food in­dus­try will need to adapt.”

Charlebois said there are a num­ber of rea­sons young peo­ple are com­mit­ting to veg­e­tar­i­an­ism or ve­g­an­ism, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, con­cern over an­i­mal wel­fare and the in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of agri­cul­ture, and con­cern for their own health.

“A lot of stud­ies are ac­tu­ally dis­cour­ag­ing con­sumers from eat­ing red meats specif­i­cally. Even the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion has made pro­cessed meats a Cat­e­gory 1 prod­uct, which means it could cause can­cer, at the same level as as­bestos,” said Charlebois.

“Health seems to be a big driver across the board. That re­ally could en­tice con­sumers to com­mit to ve­g­an­ism or veg­e­tar­i­an­ism.”

Hal­i­fax-area restau­rant worker Rylee Boo­roff said she chose ve­g­an­ism eight years ago dur­ing univer­sity for health rea­sons. The 26-yearold said since chang­ing her diet, she’s no­ticed a shift in ve­g­an­ism and veg­e­tar­ian cul­ture

Peo­ple want to do the best by their bod­ies and be­ing healthy is now a life­style. Rylee Boo­roff

in Canada.

“It’s re­ally blown up .... I used to work at a ve­gan restau­rant in Toronto and see­ing the growth of our restau­rant over the years, I could re­ally tell that peo­ple started to take ei­ther a lot more care about what they were eat­ing or they were just more in­ter­ested in a plant-based diet.”

The re­sults of the sur­vey — con­ducted by third-party data col­lec­tor Qualtrics — were based on re­sponses from 1,049 Cana­di­ans over the age of 18 be­tween March 6 and 9, and were con­sid­ered ac­cu­rate within plus or mi­nus 3.1 per­cent­age points, 19 times out of 20.

istock

a sur­vey has found that most ve­g­ans and vege­tar­i­ans in canada

are un­der 35.

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