COMMENTARY: Youth far more likely to be vegetarians

Canadians love meat. Many of us have been dedicated to our favourite protein source for years.

But other sources of protein are emerging as potent alternatives to animal protein. Demand is up for vegetable proteins like pulses, as well as for fish and seafood. Loblaw has even started selling cricket flour and is trying to make insect consumption mainstream. As a result, some believe vegetarianism and veganism may be on the rise in Canada.

Not so much, it seems. According to a recent poll conducted by Dalhousie University, it appears that the number of vegetarians and vegans has remained the same, but the number of Canadians who follow specific dietary practices is clearly on the rise.

Results suggest that 7.1 per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 per cent vegans. These numbers are fairly consistent with several other polls conducted over the last decade or so. Vegetarians maintain a meat-free diet, while vegans also abstain from any animal or animal-derived products, including dairy, eggs and even honey.

We should note that there are several variations of vegetarianism and veganism. But even if these percentages are not shockingly high, we are getting some indication that things may get more complicated in the future.

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