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Diet For A New Canada: Health Trends Moving Away From Meat Consumption

In a land of sprawling cattle ranches and thousands of farms, Canadians know the importance agriculture plays in the economy. Increasingly, Canadians seem to be reassessing their dietary choices and recognizing the importance of a diet that stresses new types of proteins other than traditional meat-based choices.

Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia recently released a fascinating study looking at Canadians’ attitudes toward plant-based protein alternatives.  The study was conducted by principal investigator Professor Sylvain Charlebois, with support from Simon Somogyi, Arrell Chair in the Business of Food at the University of Guelph, and Janet Music from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management. An online survey administered in September 2018 revealed important information about how Canadians view protein alternatives.

“More and more Canadians are considering reducing the amount of protein from meat in their diets,” says Charlebois. “Canada’s new food guide will be released in the months to come, and advances in technology have given consumers more protein choices. We wanted to learn more about what Canadians think about eating meat and plant-based alternatives, and how willing they are to reduce their meat consumption and consider new types of proteins.”

According to the findings, 6.4 million Canadians (about 17 per cent of the total population) are already following a diet that restricts meat partially or completely, even though most consider meat to be part of a healthy diet. Just under half of respondents eat meat daily, with an additional 40 per cent saying they eat meat once or twice a week. Just over half of respondents are willing to reduce their meat consumption, and one-third are willing to do so in the next six months. Regionally, Ontarians (Canada’s largest province located in the central part of the country) are the most likely to already be eating less meat, and those in Atlantic Canada are the least likely.

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