New research from Roy Morgan shows that between 2012 and 2016 the number of Australian adults consuming a diet that is all or almost-all vegetarian grew for 1.7 million people (9.7 per cent of the population) to nearly 2.1 million (11.2 per cent of the population).
Thirty per cent growth in the diet in NSW, to 12.1 per cent of the population, saw it climb to become the second most vegetarian state in the country behind Tasmania (12.7 per cent of its population). Queensland (9.2 per cent of the population) is Australia’s least vegetarian-inclined state. According to the report vegetarians are more likely to live in capital cities than in regional or rural areas.
Previous research by Roy Morgan indicated that many people adopt a vegetarian diet for health and/or weight-loss reasons, and this motivation may have some foundation. While 60.7 per cent of Australian adults have a body mass index that qualifies as overweight or obese, this figure drops to 45.4 per cent of those whose diet is mostly or totally vegetarian.
“Whether people are embracing a less meat-heavy diet for health, environmental or animal-welfare reasons, the fact remains that this trend looks set to continue,” Roy Morgan Research Industry communications Director Norman Morris said.
“Not only has there been an increase in near or total vegetarianism across Australia, but almost 9.9 million Aussie adults [53.4 per cent] agree that they’re eating less red meat these days. If they haven’t 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.”