Vegetarianism mushrooms across NSW
VEGETARIANISM is spreading across New South Wales faster than in any other state, with the herbivorous habit growing in popularity by 30% between 2012 and this year.
The number of Australian adults whose diet was all or almost all vegetarian rose from 1.7 million (9.7% of the population) to 2.1 million (11.2%) over the same period.
Roy Morgan Research said 12.4% of adults living in NSW had made the switch away from meat by March 2016, up from 8.7% four years earlier.
South Australia had the second fastest growth rate, hitting 10.4% in 2016, up from 8.5% in 2012.
Tasmania still leads the nation with the highest ratio of residents removing animal flesh from their diet, reaching 12.7% this year, up from 12.2% in 2012.
Queensland retains its title as the least vegetarian state, its rate reaching 9.2%, up from 8.3%.
The research found capital city dwellers were more likely than those in regional and rural areas to have made the vegetarian switch, with Sydney's 14.4% rate leading the country.
Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris attributed much of the trend to people wanting to lose weight and live healthily.
He said 60.7% of Australian adults have a body mass index qualifying as overweight or obese, whereas only 45.4% of vegetarians tipped the too-fat scale.
"Whether people are embracing a less meat-heavy diet for health, environmental or animal welfare reasons, the fact remains that this trend looks set to continue," Mr Morris said.
"Not only has there been an increase in near or total vegetarianism across Australia, but almost 9.9 million Aussie adults (53.4%) agree that they're 'eating less red meat these days'.
"If they have not already, supermarkets and eateries would be wise to revisit their vegetarian-friendly options to ensure they are catering adequately for this growing - and potentially lucrative - consumer segment." -ARM NEWSDESK