What Proportion Of Consumers Are Prospective Vegetarians?
The apparent trend in Australia and similar countries towards decreased red meat consumption and increased interest in vegetarian diets has implications for public health, the environment, health education, and home economics educators.
A 1999 random survey conducted in South Australia found that 1.5% respondents identified as vegetarian and 7.2% as semi-vegetarian.
Twenty-five per cent of respondents ate red meat less than once a week. Approximately 40% were interested in vegetarianism. The majority of the sample perceived vegetarian diets to have health benefits.
Barriers to the consumption of a vegetarian diet included enjoying eating meat and an unwillingness to alter eating habits.
An additional survey of vegetarians was conducted to allow comparisons to be made between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Among other differences, vegetarians were more likely to hold universal values than non-vegetarians and to use/trust unorthodox information sources.
Approximately 15% of non-vegetarians were found to hold similar beliefs about vegetarianism as vegetarians. These ‘prospective vegetarians’ were distinct from vegetarians and the remaining omnivores.
For example, they were more likely to be female than the remaining omnivores.
The findings show that a significant proportion of the population is interested in vegetarianism and that interest in broader plant-based diets, that may contain some meat, is probably higher.