The number of vegans in New Zealand is skyrocketing, and according to a recent New Zealand Herald article, the increase is fueled by a motivation to help prevent disease, environmental degradation, and animal suffering on factory farms.
“A decade ago, the vegan diet was considered whacky, if not plain risky. Vegans were seen as un-fun characters who lived on dandelion tea and brown rice. Now, eating vegan is seriously cool,” explains the author.
Here are eight other countries that are ditching meat and embracing delicious plant-based foods:
An article published in The Guardian last year highlights the growing population of vegetarians and vegans in Spain.
According to the article, “Spanish people have a reputation as diehard meat eaters. But in recent years, as the number of vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Spain has doubled, there are signs of change.” The author continues, “The idea that we should, at the very least, eat less meat is increasingly common in Spain, as in many other parts of Europe.”
2. The United Kingdom
A whopping one in eight British adults now follows a vegetarian or vegan diet.
While 12 percent of the total population has decided to ditch meat, that percentage jumps to 20 for people between the ages of 16 and 24. And that’s not all: millions more in the UK are “flexitarians”and have dramatically cut back on their meat consumption.
Nearly 10 percent of the country now identifies as vegetarian or vegan, with young people leading the way.
According to a poll conducted by Animal Rights Sweden, in the last five years, the number of Swedish vegetarians has increased by 4 percent!
An article published by Space News last year showcases the growing vegan population in Israel, estimating that at the time of publication there were nearly 300,000 vegans in this tiny country, making up 4 percent of the total population.
The author explains, “That makes Israel the vegan capital of the world, with more people per capita eschewing all animal products in their diet than any other nation.”
If you thought India couldn’t get more veg-friendly, think again! Last year, the Indian city Palitana became the first all-vegetarian city in the world.
Behind this revolutionary change are the Jain monks who went on a hunger strike to pressure the state of Gujarat to outlaw animal slaughter in their city. The hunger strike was successful and the Gujarat government imposed a ban on animal slaughter and outlawed the sale of meat and eggs.
Germany is home to over 7 million vegetarians and is experiencing an increasing demand for plant-based products. Even the 200-year-old Oktoberfest, a meat-laden annual German beer festival, has taken notice, and is offering delicious vegan versions of traditional favorites.
In addition, the ambitious owner of Veganz, an all-vegan supermarket chain based in Germany, is now boasting a goal of opening 60 more stores by 2020, due to popular demand!
Results from a survey of Canadian food consumption for 2013 reflect a nearly 10 percent drop in meat consumption since 2001. While a general decrease was noted across the meat categories, the greatest decline was seen in pork consumption, with a decrease of 4.5 percent.
And just last month, The Huffington Post Canada highlighted Canada’s growing trend away from the consumption of milk. In fact, milk consumption has fallen 25 percent as more and more people opt for delicious plant-based alternatives, such as almond milk and soy milk.
Here in the U.S., private investors are putting millions into vegan food start-ups like Beyond Meat, which had Microsoft mogul Bill Gates singing its praises, or Hampton Creek Foods,which garnered the attention of Asia’s richest businessman, Li Ka-Shing, along with a $23 million investment.
And global market research company #Mintel recently found that 36 percent of Americans
purchase meat alternatives at least some of the time.
With more and more people moving away from meat, there’s never been a better time to add more vegetarian foods to your diet.