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New Zealanders increasingly searching for kinder food

New Zealanders increasingly searching for kinder food

August 17th, 2017

Recent animal cruelty and neglect scandals, farm footage of suffering  animals, and misleading consumer adverts, have opened the eyes of many  caring New Zealanders. Despite the multimillion dollar marketing budgets  the animal farming industry spends annually, people are looking for the  reality behind the label. They are learning how animals suffer in  factory farms and in the field before being slaughtered at ages many  years prior to their natural lifespan. And caring Kiwis are saying,  ‘enough is enough’.

People who care about animals, the planet and their own health are  increasingly looking for alternatives. Some are cutting down or  eliminating all meat products; others, who have seen the severe  deprivation of laying hens in cages, and the suffering of cows and  calves, may be looking at transitioning to a vegan or plant-based diet  or lifestyle.

In June, a survey carried out by Bean Supreme found that 53% of Kiwis  said they are eating less meat, and 24% expected to be mostly meat-free  by 2025. Of the 1,007 survey respondents, 4% indicated they are  currently vegetarian or vegan. These people were most likely to live in  Auckland or Canterbury, be female, and were aged 25-54. The growth in  those going vegetarian or following a mainly meat-free diet was  primarily in the millennials group, aged 16-24.

These figures echo similar surveys carried out around the world. For  example, research commissioned by The Vegan Society found that the  number of vegans in the UK had grown by 260% from an estimated 150,000  in 2006 to 542,000 in 2016, which is around 1% of the population. Nearly  10,000 people over the age of 15 had been surveyed by independent  polling company Ipsos Mori, with London being a vegan ‘hotspot’. Nearly  half of vegetarians who are not vegan also said they would like to  reduce their consumption of dietary animal products. This equates to  521,000 people across Britain, which could lead to Britain becoming home  to over one million vegans within years.

Elsewhere in Europe, veganism has boomed in Germany and Austria,  where vegan population percentages exceed 1%, but also in Sweden,  Poland, France, Italy and Spain. The number of vegans in the USA is  estimated at around 0.5%.

Statistics on global Google searches for the word ‘vegan’ reveal that  it overtook ‘vegetarian’ around the end of 2011. Google searches are  ranked as a proportion of the highest number recorded on a particular  day or week. The 100% mark was reached during the last week of December  2016. This was probably caused by the Veganuary effect; a global  campaign to encourage people to go vegan for the month of January (and  throughout the year). In recent months, ‘vegan’ searches have been  rising steadily.

Within New Zealand, ‘vegan’ searches mirror global trends, with Otago  demonstrating the largest interest, followed by Wellington, Nelson,  Canterbury and Auckland. During the last week of July, a new vegan  product, Chicken-free chicken by Sunfed Meats, hit the shelves in New  Zealand. Made from pea protein in New Zealand by Shama Lee, this product  aims to appeal to people who love the taste and texture of chicken.  That week, spikes in NZ ‘vegan’ searches were the highest in months.

A few days later, SAFE CEO Jasmijn de Boo (former CEO of The Vegan Society in the UK), was interviewed by Jesse Mulligan on Radio New Zealand. That week, searches for ‘vegan’ further increased, demonstrating the growing interest in this compassionate lifestyle.

It is clear that this surge in a more compassionate, healthier and  environmentally-friendly diet is gaining momentum in New Zealand. SAFE  offers a 100% Vegetarian starter Guide and support through a 6-week  Challenge that people can sign up for online at https://www.safe.org.nz/eatkind

Jasmijn de Boo

CEO, SAFE

 

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