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

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Two boats reported in trouble in Cowoichan Bay on Dec. 13

Coast Guard responds, but finds only one vessel that required assistance

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read