A new report has found that a number of Australasian citizens want more vegan options in restaurants and supermarkets.
The Vegan Society and The Christchurch Vegan Society surveyed 1,000 plant-based shoppers in Australia and New Zealand to gain insight into their current and future purchasing habits.
Of those asked, 55 percent wanted to see more vegan food and drink options added to restaurant menus. Meanwhile, 52.7 percent were keen to see more products on supermarket shelves.
The report concludes that most consumers looking for more vegan options are motivated by environmental concerns, personal health concerns, and animal welfare.
Flying in the face of dietary tradition
Both Australia and New Zealand have significant meat production and consumption rates.
Australia is one of the largest consumers of meat, registering approximately 110 kilograms per person, per year. Conversely, New Zealand comes in at around 73.6 kilograms per capita, amid claims that meat consumption has peaked and that a plant-based uprising is threatening animal agriculture.
Survey respondents revealed that times are changing, with 41.8 percent claiming to purchase vegan food in supermarkets either “every time” (15.6 percent) or “often” (26.2 percent). As an indicator that this could increase, 18.8 percent stated that they “sometimes” do, but expressed a desire to make these purchases more frequent.
Only 8.3 percent said that they “rarely” buy plant-based products and just 4.1 percent stated that they “never” do. Results are similar across Australia and New Zealand. The latter has reported that 1.5 million people have actively reduced their meat intake.
Is the climate crisis a driving motivation for dietary change?
Within the global agricultural sector, up to 80 percent of emissions come from the farming of animals. Combined, Australia and New Zealand represent vast animal agriculture numbers. The former claims more than 4.9 billion lives annually for its food system.
New Zealand, in particular, came under fire for its protests against plant-based diet recommendations being included in the latest IPCC report. This is despite agriculture making up almost half (49 percent) of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
New Zealand and Australia both have growing vegan meat sectors, with multiple domestic brands looking to replace traditional animal protein on supermarket shelves. Australia’s plant-based meat sector grew by AU$40 million in one year. Meanwhile, New Zealand is branching out into alternative dairy, as well as meat, to address growing vegan demand.