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Flexitarianism a growing trend, survey suggests

By Canadian Pizza   

News Sustainability Trends flexitarian

A survey of 1,000 Canadian adults suggests that, after meat-eaters, flexitarianism is the most common eating habit in Canada, with almost 15 per cent of Canadians opting for this diet influenced by environment, cost and convenience.

The survey was conducted November 2022 by recipe-box subscription service Chefs Plate.

Searches for “vegetarian friendly food” have spiked 5000 per cent in early June and could potentially mean more people are wanting to try a vegetarian or flexitarian diet. The company suggests answers to the commonly searched question in Canada:

What is a “Flexitarian” and what do they eat?

Flexitarians can eat meat, Chefs Plate said in a news release. They just favour eating reduced amounts in moderation, typically for ethical reasons.

Oxford Dictionary defines “flexitarian” as a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian,” “referring to an individual who follows a primarily but not strictly vegetarian diet, occasionally eating meat or fish.”

Flexitarians mostly consume plant-based foods, but without completely eliminating meat from their diets, the company said. A flexitarian diet is not about absolutes, unlike vegan and vegetarian counterparts: it is a lifestyle that offers flexibility between protein choices (including both animal and plant-based).

The number of flexitarians is much higher in the Northern region of Canada, with over half following this diet trend.

The survey suggests 35-44 year olds are most likely to be flexitarians, with one in five reducing the amount of meat they consume and the environmental impact a key consideration. In fact, younger people as a whole were most likely to be influenced by the environment, with over a quarter of 18-24 year olds saying this impacts their eating habits.

Apart from environmental factors, the survey suggested that cost and convenience may be the most influential factors in determining their eating habits. Almost half of those surveyed said that they are influenced by “how easy the food is to cook” and another 43 per cent said they’re influenced by “how cheap the food is to buy.”

“It is very interesting to see that Canadians are favouring the adaptable nature of the flexitarian diet over more strict, constrictive diets such as vegetarian, pescetarian and vegan,” A spokesperson from Chefs Plate said. “It is also extremely telling that the environment, cost and convenience are among the most influential factors impacting a person’s diet choice, highlighting empathy towards the climate crisis, but also considering personal factors such as limited time and finance.”

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