Being vegetarian in Australia is trending

Peter Terlato 19 August 2016

Vegetarian cook

2 million Aussies now eat meat-free.

Eating healthy in 2016 is not only good for you, it's trendy, as new data reveals more than two million Aussies claim their entire diet (or almost all of it) is vegetarian.

Roy Morgan Research's latest findings show that between 2012 and 2016, vegetarianism among Australians grew 1.5% to 2.1 million (or 11.2% of the population).

Residents of New South Wales were the main protagonists of the veggie diet movement, with 12.4% agreeing "The food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian", up 2.9% from 9.5% four years earlier.

The state's capital, Sydney, is home to the greatest proportion of residents who it little or no meat (14.4%), ahead of Hobart (13.3%) and Melbourne (12.7%).

Tasmanians have the highest proportion of vegetarians in the country (12.7% in 2016, up from 12.2% in 2012).

The number of Western Australians who've adopted a meat-free (or meat-minimal) diet grew 2.2% since 2012 to 10.9%, while Queenslanders (9.2% in 2016, up from 8.3% in 2012) were least inclined to switch.

South Australia also saw solid gains in vegetarianism (10.4% in 2016, up from 8.5% in 2012).

How has this happened?

In 2014 Australia surpassed the US to become the world's biggest meat eaters, a title we last held more than 30 years ago, in 1982.

The average Australian chomped through 90.21 kilograms of meat in 2014, according to the Organisation of Economic Development and Co-operation and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Just last week AIHW revealed 93% of Australians don't consume the recommended amounts of fruit and veggies, a key indicator in the development of diabetes.

But attitudes are changing and many Aussies are adopting veggie diets for health and/or weight loss reasons.

Almost 10 million Aussie adults (53.4% of the population) agree they're "eating less red meat these days".

Almost half (48.7%) of Aussies who eat little or no meat believe a low-fat diet is a way of life and more than a third (36.7%) of vegetarians say they "always think of the number of calories" in the food they're eating.

They're not wrong. The Body Mass Index for around 60% of Australian adults puts them in the category of overweight or obese, compared with just 45.4% of vegetarians.

But healthy eating is expensive, right? Wrong. We've put together an A-Z on how you can eat well for cheap.

And if that's not enough motivation, we scoured the net to find the eight best sites to buy healthy food online.

Picture: Shutterstock

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