After Health Canada released their new food guide at the beginning of 2019, fruits and vegetables took the spotlight. The food guide focused on a more plant-based diet while meat and other animal products weren't included as much as they were in the older food guide. Now, according to a study conducted by the Guelph University and Dalhousie University, a record-breaking amount of Canadians are cutting meat out of their diets.
This study by the University of Guelph was conducted as part of a broader project in the study of awareness of Canada's Food Guide. Through this research, it was discovered that Canada now has 1.3 million Canadians who identify as vegetarians, which is the highest amount that has ever been recorded throughout the nation. 466,000 Canadians also identify as vegan throughout the nation, which is also a record high.
Overall, nearly 20% of all Canadians (6.5 million) are either cutting meat out of their diet entirely or limiting the amount of meat that they are consuming. In this 20%, it is not only vegetarians and vegans who are included. These percentages are record-breaking and more than ever before.
Many Canadians, while they have not cut meat out of their diet completely, have limited the amount they consume greatly. This can include some Canadians who are questioning the role of meat in their diets, or those who are flexitarians.
The data from this survey also shows that a majority of those who are shifting to a more plant-based diet are younger adults. Nearly 72% of those who identify as vegetarians throughout Canada are under the age of 39.
Sylvain Charlebois, the lead professor in food distribution at Dalhousie University states that while millennials are not the sole demographic that makes up those who are cutting meat out of their diets, they are definitely influencing the rest of the population.
Charlebois told National Post, "These consumers- millennials and the generations after them- are becoming more economically influential. And grocers and restaurant owners know that,".
A plant-based diet has started to become so popular in Canada that many main franchises are already starting to offer multiple vegetarian-friendly options.
Narcity reported this morning that A&W launched their new Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich. The new breakfast sandwich uses a Beyond Meat sausage that's vegan for those who are looking for a quick plant-based breakfast before their morning commute.
Canadians are starting to question the role that meat plays in a healthy and balanced diet.