Survey results suggest people under the age of 35 were three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than people 49 or older. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Most vegans, vegetarians in Canada are under 35: poll

Survey says 16 per cent of all vegetarians in Canada live in British Columbia

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 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.”

The survey suggested people under the age of 35 were three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than people 49 or older.

And in what Charlebois characterized as “mind-blowing,” 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 speciality 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 one product, which means it could cause cancer, at the same level as asbestos.”

Halifax-area restaurant worker Rylee Booroff said she decided to become vegan eight years ago during university for health reasons. The 26-year-old woman said since changing her diet, she’s notice a shift in veganism and vegetarian culture 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,” said Booroff, a supervisor at The Wooden Monkey in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth.

“Health is everything now. We work it into everything. We work it into the clothes we buy, the socks we wear… People want to do the best by their bodies and being healthy is now a lifestyle.”

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.

The poll also suggested that people in B.C. and Ontario were more likely to identify as vegetarians or vegans than consumers living in the Prairies, Quebec or the Atlantic region. In fact, Charlebois said 16 per cent of all vegetarians in the country lived in B.C.

Women surveyed were 0.6 times more likely to consider themselves vegetarian or vegan than men, and Canadians with a university degree were three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than those with a high school diploma.

Meanwhile, city dwellers were three times more likely to commit to veganism than those in small towns.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Alberni’s Reconciliation Committee hosts community forum

The community event will take place on the anniversary of Walk for Reconciliation

Port Alberni’s breakfast program receives community support

The Read and Feed program runs on donations, grants and fundraising

Cherry Creek Shootout is a family affair

Alberni Men’s Club opens on Sunday

Kinder Morgan protest planned for Port Alberni

Protest is part of a nationwide movement on Friday, March 23

Get emergency prepared with workshop at Capitol Theatre

Emergency preparedness workshop will take place on Friday, Mar. 23

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Comox Valley hospital operating above patient capacity

The new healthcare facility averaged a 110 per cent patient volume between October and February

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Most Read