The Vegetarian Alternative
Welcome to the Australian renaissance of vegetarianism.
In 2016, 2.1 million Australians over 18 claimed to eat a diet almost or exclusively plant-based. That number is up from 1.7 million in 2012.
While it’s not a rapid shift, vegetarianism is steadily becoming a more popular feature in many Australian households.
The move away from meat
As well as being cheaper, the much publicised connection between red and processed meats and different types of cancer is another compelling reason for Aussies to dump the steak in favour of a plant-based vegetarian diet.
But vegetarianism is also now considered the lifestyle of choice for the more eco-minded.
Vegetarianism is attracting increasing numbers of younger Australians, concerned about the high carbon footprint generated by the meat industry.
Disturbing reports of animal cruelty in the poultry and sheep industries, and the trend of intensive farming practices across the world are also fuelling the move away from meat.
The birth of the Flexitarian
For Australians seeking to reduce the amount of meat they eat, but can’t quite bring themselves to cut it out it completely, there is now the ‘flexitarian’ option; a more environmentally sustainable diet that combines vegetarianism with the occasional meat dish.
If flexitarianism still sounds too severe, there’s always Meat Free Monday, a global movement that encourages us to miss out on meat once a week for the sake of the environment.
Vegetarianism in Australia is continuing to gain momentum with more varied food options available.
Eateries and food vendors are trying to meet the demand for flavoursome and healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes. Take Domino's pizza, who almost ran out of supply when they trialed vegan mozzarella earlier this year. The range of vegan pizzas are now permanent menu items.
It’s even getting a bit scientific, with Dutch scientist Professor Mark Post developing the first lab-grown 'hamburger'.
Good for business
Like with Domino's, embracing the vegetarian and vegan movement might be good for business. Perhaps your cafe has more than one token vego menu item or your upcoming recipe ebook features some truly inspired plant based meals. Perhaps you dedicate your next podcast episodes to this rise in popularity or come up with a slogan for your printed t-shirt brand.
Although lab-grown meat may take some time to hit the supermarket shelves, vegetarianism is definitely making the move to mainstream.