Across Australasia, people want more climate-friendly vegan food options

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A new report has revealed that a number of Australasian citizens want more vegan options in restaurants and supermarkets.

The Vegan Society and Christchurch Vegan Society surveyed 1,000 plant-based shoppers in Australia and New Zealand to better understand their current and future shopping habits.

Of those surveyed, 55% wanted to see more vegan food and drink options added to restaurant menus. Meanwhile, 52.7% wanted to see more products on supermarket shelves.

The report concludes that most consumers seeking more vegan options are driven by environmental concerns, personal health concerns, and animal welfare.

Flying in the face of food tradition

Australia and New Zealand have significant meat production and consumption rates.

Australia is one of the largest consumers of meat, registering around 110 kilograms per person per year. Conversely, New Zealand comes in at around 73.6 kilograms per capitaamid claims that meat consumption has peaked and that a plant upheaval threatens animal agriculture.

Survey respondents revealed that times are changing, with 41.8% saying they buy vegan food from supermarkets “every time” (15.6%) or “often” (26.2%). As an indicator that this might increase, 18.8% said they do so “sometimes”, but expressed a desire to make these purchases more frequent.

Only 8.3% said they “rarely” buy herbal products and only 4.1% said they “never” buy them. The results are similar in Australia and New Zealand. The latter reported that 1.5 million people have actively reduce their meat consumption.

Is the climate crisis a driving motivation for dietary change?

Within the global agricultural sector, up to 80% of emissions come from animal husbandry. Together, Australia and New Zealand account for vast numbers of animal agriculture. The first requires more than 4.9 billion lives per year for their food system.

The environmentalist claims that changing attitudes about meat consumption are due to an increased concern for the planet. Although both countries have been slow to respond to climate crisis.

New Zealand, in particular, has been criticized for its plant-based food protests recommendations included in the latest IPCC report. This is despite the fact that agriculture accounts for almost half (49%) of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

New Zealand and Australia both have a growing vegan meat sector, with several national brands looking to replace traditional animal protein on supermarket shelves. Australia’s plant-based meat industry increased by 40 million Australian dollars in a year. Meanwhile, New Zealand is diversifying into alternative dairy products, as well as meat, to meet growing demand from vegans.

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Tanya S. Norvell