• More Australians are vegetarian now than ever before. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Many new migrants identify as vegetarian, particularly those from India, China and other Asian countries.
Ben Winsor

17 Aug 2016 - 2:37 PM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2016 - 3:39 PM

This week Roy Morgan released a poll showing that the number of vegetarians in Australia has risen from 1.7 million people in 2012 to 2.1 million today – a rise from 9.7 per cent to 11.2 per cent of Australians.

Researchers asked almost 15,000 Australians aged 18 and over about their diets, and defined vegetarians as people who agreed that ‘the food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian.’

Researchers found that young inner city urbanites had high rates of vegetarianism, as did new Australians in outer urban areas, particularly those from Indian, Chinese and other Asian backgrounds.

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The report also found that vegetarians were likely to be slimmer.

While 60.7 per cent of Australian adults are classified as overweight or obese, just 45.4 per cent of vegetarians are overweight or obese.

Many Australians choose a vegetarian diet for health and weight-loss reasons, the polling company said.

“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,” Norman Morris from Roy Morgan says.

“Not only has there been an increase in near or total vegetarianism across Australia, but almost 9.9 million Aussie adults – 53.4 per cent – agree that they’re ‘eating less red meat these days’” he said.

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They found that Tasmania led the nation as a vegetarian nirvana, with 12.7 per cent of residents identifying as vegetarian. That compares to Western Australia at the other end of the spectrum, where 9.2 per cent of residents identified as vegetarian.

Sydney is the most vegetarian capital city, however, with 14.4 per cent indicating they preferred a vegetarian diet.

“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,” Morris said.

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