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From margins to mainstream: meat-free eating is on the rise

According to a recent Globe & Mail article, vegan cuisine has moved into the mainstream.  Certainly, no one can fail to notice the emergence of vegan and vegetarian restaurants (along with more meat-free options in conventional restaurants) and the availability of meat and dairy substitutes in supermarkets.  While the overwhelming majority of people are still carnivores, adopting a plant-based diet is no longer on the freakish fringe of lifestyle choices.

Using Google books Ngram Viewer, a digital tool that can track the historical frequency of words in a database of about six million books, it’s possible to see how the concept of meatless diets has advanced in our culture in recent decades. The charts below are roughly indicative, tracking several relevant terms:



Ngram veg track


Although “vegetarian” appears to dip after 2000:





Ngram Vegetarian to 2008

Rising concerns about the impact of meat consumption on animal welfare, the environment and health have no doubt played a role in increased public interest in plant-based diets. But despite this trend, global consumption of meat is accelerating because of increased demand in Asia.

Animal activists, environmentalists and health advocates promoting lower meat consumption have their work cut out for them.

VHS is committed to encouraging a plant-based diet and lower meat consumption to help end factory farm cruelty and reduce animal suffering and slaughter.

Check out our Eat Less Meat program.