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Meat-eaters still dominate with flexitarians on the rise, says survey of Canadians

Flexibility of allowing meat in the diet grows in popularity
Steaks on a grill in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

One-in-six Canadians consider themselves a flexitarian, according to data compiled for Chef’s Plate.

A survey of 1,002 Canadian adults, conducted in November, shows that after carnivores, flexitarian (at 15 per cent of respondents) is the most common eating habit in Canada. Only two per cent of respondents said they consider themselves vegan, two per cent pescatarian and four per cent vegetarian.

A pescatarian does not eat meat, but does eat fish. A vegetarian does not eat meat, including poultry and seafood, while a vegan does not eat meat or any animal product

Flexitarians can eat meat, but primarily consume plant-based foods while not completely eliminating animal products from their diets.

“We are always intrigued to see Canada’s eating habits evolving over time, and the reasons as to why this is happening,” said a spokesperson for Chef’s Plate, a recipe box subscription service.

“It is very interesting to see that as a nation, Canadians are favouring the adaptable nature of the flexitarian diet over more strict, constrictive diets such as vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan. It is also extremely telling that the environment, cost and convenience are among the most influential factors impacting a person’s diet choice, highlighting empathy towards the climate crisis, but also considering personal factors such as limited time and finance.”

READ ALSO: Beyond Fish? The next frontier in plant-based alternatives

The survey shows Canadians consider environment, cost and convenience the most influential factors in determining their eating habits, with younger people most likely to be influenced by the environment when deciding what to eat.

The survey showed those aged 35 to 44 are most likely to be flexitarians, with one in five opting for this diet. That age group cited environmental impact as a key consideration.

Younger people as a whole were most likely to be influenced by the environment, with 26 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds saying it impacts their eating habits. Apart from environmental factors, the survey suggested that Canadians consider cost and convenience the most influential factors in determining their eating habits, which has been exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis.

Almost half, 46 per cent, of those surveyed are influenced by ease of preparation while 43 per cent cited cost as a key influence.


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