According to research by Dalhousie University, the number of vegans and vegetarians in Canada now exceeds 3 million. This means that almost 10 percent of Canadians now eat completely meat-free. This enormous increase is understood to be partly due to animal welfare, environmental concerns and personal health.
Sylvain Charlebois, professor at Dalhousie University, discovered that most Canadian vegetarians and vegans are under 35 years of age. He believes that current parents will pass on their eating habits to their children, which is likely to mean that future generations will also be meat-free. He also emphasises the health benefits of a meat-free, plant-based diet. “I can’t remember the last time I read a study suggesting that we should eat more meat,” the professor says, adding that the scientific situation is quite clear. The professor of food distribution and policy therefore recommends eating more plant-based proteins.
Pulses like lentils and chickpeas can provide us with plenty of protein, and as such it is possible for meat-free eaters to cover their protein requirements and completely eliminate meat. The trend towards alternative, meat-free proteins is growing steadily. For example, the burger giant A&W recently introduced the Beyond Meat Burger, a patty made from peas, rice and other plant-based ingredients.
Charlebois also looks at the growing trend towards plant-based foods from a different perspective. He argues that the situation that has arisen may well become critical for livestock farmers and meat producers. For this reason, he suggests they should “Make friends with the enemy”. He points out that, like big car manufacturers who have started to produce electric vehicles, the task for meat producers now is to produce vegan meat instead of fighting the rise.