I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian and have been for more than 20 years. This means I do not eat any meat but do eat dairy foods and eggs – I personally cannot imagine a world without vintage cheese!!
When I tell people that I have actually chosen not to eat any meat, I often get a strange look and am regularly asked the question (or something similar) “ how can you go without eating meat?’
I made this dietary and lifestyle choice because having worked with meat products for five years I reached a point where the texture of meat became something I did not enjoy. In fact, I cannot eat some meat analogues (vegetarian food which is designed to closely ressemble meat) because the texture is so similar to meat.
I remember the first time I heard of vegetarians when a couple came to stay with us when I was at school. My mother did what many do (even now) when finding out that the person coming does not eat meat. She ran around the supermarket and found some canned vegetarian foods she could serve them. The amount of vegetarian food readily available in supermarkets now would only have been a dream back then.
So I was really interested to see the results of a recent report from Roy Morgan Research.
The research shows that there has been an increase of over 400,000 vegetarians (or eating a vegetarian diet) from 2011 to 2016. This now brings the percentage of vegetarians in our community to 11.2 percent.
It is New South Wales which has had the biggest increase from 2011 to 2016, with a 30 percent growth in people calling themselves vegetarian.
The report says that the switch to meat free is mainly to help their weight and health.
This is a diet and lifestyle choice which seems to be gaining momentum, so it would make a lot of sense for food buisnesses, and especially those in hospitality, to ensure they have good vegetarian choices in their range.
Industry Communications Director at Roy Morgan Research, Norman Morris, said; “If they have not already, supermarkets and eateries would be wise to revisit their vegetarian-friendly options to ensure they are catering adequately for this growing – and potentially lucrative — consumer segment.”