Australia is known to be one of the largest producers and consumers (per capita) of meat in the world, and yet according to Food Frontier, 1 in 3 Aussies are now choosing to reduce their meat consumption. Both vegans and non-vegans alike have seen the exponential growth the plant-based meat market has grown in Australia, and it’s projected to continue upwards from here.
What exactly is driving Aussie demand for plant-based meat? Keep reading to find out.
People around the world are learning that the food pyramid isn’t all it’s cut out to be. In fact, Health Canada has scrapped the food pyramid altogether in favour of a new guide discouraging dairy, and encouraging more vegetables and plant-based protein.
On the other side of the Pacific, more and more Aussies are beginning to pay attention to what’s on their dinner plates. From the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring processed meat a carcinogen, to the ever-popular documentary The Game Changers, increased education about animal-based foods have encouraged many to reduce their meat consumption.
This has created a rise in flexitarians – a term for those whose diets mainly consist of plant-based foods, but may still eat animal products from time-to-time. For those mostly concerned about their health, choosing to eat animal products only in moderation has become the start of a new demographic of individuals interested in plant-based meat.
Similar to the market for low-calorie ice cream, for example, many health-conscious Aussies still want to enjoy familiar meals and flavours, without consuming animal products.
The growing number of Australians moving towards a more flexitarian approach to food also stems from increased awareness of the impact that animal agriculture has on the environment. According to Food Frontier, animal agriculture accounts for a significant proportion of land use for food, causing many issues such as deforestation and diversity loss, while only accounting for less than 20% of the calories the world consumes.
In other words, livestock upkeep and meat production uses up a disproportionate amount of resources in comparison to the caloric value it produces. On the other hand, plant protein requires less resources to create more food.
Animal welfare is usually what most of us think of, when we talk about what drives the Aussie demand for plant-based meat. It is most often associated with the rise in vegetarianism and veganism.
If you know anyone vegetarian or vegan, we can almost guarantee they’ve come across the question, “Why do you want food that reminds you of meat?”
Many of us group up with a particular food culture – when it comes to Aussies, think meat and three veg, sausage sizzles, or a typical bbq, for example. If you can enjoy the foods you know and love without participating in something you’re against (ie meat production), then why not?
The fourth reason Aussies choose plant-based meat is because of sheer curiosity! While some individuals may not necessarily be as passionate as the above concerns, or simply not informed, plant-based meat has gained a lot of attention in recent years.
Whether they proceed with scepticism or excitement, some adventurous foodies just want to try something new, or want to see if they can really tell the difference.