If you do ‘Dry January’ without telling anyone…did it even happen? We’ve become accustomed to humble brags from our peers, both in person, and on social media, every January. After the indulgence of Christmas, January is all wheat grass shots and fresh heads on a Sunday morning as people across Ireland embrace life without alcohol. However, this year, Dry January had to compete with another word; ‘’.
A recent Opinions.ie study asked . Out of 1,000 people interviewed, , or in the . Of those who eat meat or fish, 14% had considered adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet, and a further . In a country raised on cows milk, it’s rare nowadays not to see a list of non-dairy milks on the board in a coffee shop; almond, oat, coconut and soya are now part of the milk offering for our hot beverages.
The increased prevalence is evident, with . Of the 100 vegetarians and vegans we interviewed, although almost half (46%) have been vegetarian or vegan for five or more years, a .
When it comes to food choice, over half (55%) of the vegans/vegetarians interviewed agree that for vegan and vegetarian foods. with just 28% agreeing they offer good choice, although this is improving, and we are seeing more and more restaurants offering meat alternatives. Vegan and vegetarianism is certainly becoming more mainstream and this is reflected in numerous supermarkets, restaurants and cafes across Ireland and the UK. Marks & Spencer now have a plant-based range ‘Plant Kitchen’, offering cauliflower popcorn, meat free burgers and no pork sausages. Restaurants like Wagamama have introduced a vegan menu, and even the local pub in my hometown has started offering a vegan carvery.
The main (55% of meat-eaters) and believing it’s (38% of meat-eaters). Growing up in Ireland where ‘meat and two veg’ is the cornerstone of many a dinner, it can be difficult to deviate from this psyche. Nutrition concerns also rate highly as a barrier to adopting a vegan/vegetarian diet, with and a from a vegetarian or vegan diet. There is also a proportion that say they couldn’t live without dairy products (35%).
In saying that, there are a number of factors that are driving people to adopt a plant-based or meat free lifestyle. When asked their reasons for becoming a vegetarian or vegan, and . Another influential factor is the environment with . Our and while sustainability plans were once niche for the majority of businesses, it is now a prerequisite for many and a key consideration in forming company strategies. Among others, from their fruit and vegetables, have pledged a complete transition to in 2019, and a number of coffee shops encourage by offering a discount to customers who bring their own cup. On a daily basis we learn more about climate change and the impact that human activities are having on the planet. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), , a statistic which has seen an investor group (FAIRR) worth $6.5 trillion demanding the world’s biggest fast food chains .
When it comes to health, we see sharp difference in the perception of a vegetarian/vegan diet being healthier than a non-vegan/vegetarian diet. Almost versus one fifth (20%) of meat-eaters who believe a vegetarian/vegan diet is healthier. When asked about their weight, 55% of vegetarians/vegans said they were normal weight, versus 35% of non-vegetarians/vegans, while described themselves as , compared to almost . The recommends that we get between per day. We found that versus non-vegetarians/vegans (31% versus 15%). With this in mind, is adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet the way to both manage our weight and boost our fruit and vegetable intake while ?