Food In Canada

One in four Canadians thought about cutting beef in the last 12 months: Survey

May 14, 2021   by Food in Canada staff

Photo © Janine Stengel-Lewis / Adobe Stock

The Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, Halifax, recently partnered with Angus Reid to measure how committed Canadians are to beef consumption. The survey found majority of Canadians are still strongly committed to beef, but one in four did think about cutting beef from their diets in the last 12 months.

Survey participants were first asked how they saw themselves pertaining to meat consumption in general. Dietary preferences have not changed significantly over the last 12 months. The percentage of Canadians with no dietary preferences remains at 73 per cent. The flexitarian rate remains at around seven per cent in the country. At around three per cent, Canada’s veganism rate has remained at about the same level over the last 12 months. Overall, the report authors believe Canada is home to about 600,000 vegans.

Beef consumption

Survey respondents were also asked how often they eat beef in a week. A total of 92 per cent of Canadians are beef eaters. Only 8 per cent of Canadians do not eat beef at all. A total of 65 per cent of Canadians consider themselves to be regular beef eaters: eating beef at least once a week. The highest rate of beef eaters is in Alberta at 73 per cent. The lowest rate is in British Columbia, at 58 per cent.

According to the Dalhousie report, beef remains an important staple in Canadians’ diets. When asked why they enjoy eating beef, respondents cited taste as the most common reason. While a total of 69 per cent of Canadians eat beef for its taste, 12 per cent of respondents do so because of lifestyle and social status. A total of 10 per cent of Canadians eat beef for health reasons.

“More factors are motivating Canadians to eat beef regularly. A total of 55 per cent of regular beef eaters see the product as a great source of protein. A total of 42 per cent see beef as a central part of family and culinary traditions in their circle of friends and family. Finally, a total of 12 per cent of regular beef eaters do not see vegetable protein alternatives as a good choice for themselves,” said the report.

Concerns about beef consumption

When asked if they have thought about cutting beef from their diets in the last 12 months, 25 per cent of Canadians have thought about it, with the highest rate being in British Columbia at 28 per cent. However, among Canadians under the age of 35, the number was higher at 31 per cent.

The reasons some Canadians are thinking about cutting out beef will vary. Also, 47 per cent of Canadians believe the number of people cutting beef from their diets will increase in years to come. Further, 44 per cent of Canadians believe it is desirable to see more people reducing their consumption of beef over time. The top reason cited is health. Also, while 46 per cent considered cutting out beef for the environment, 32 per cent are concerned about animal welfare and cruelty.

Access the full report here.


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