Vegans rising: Australia second in the world for veganism as Gen Z snubs lab-grown meat

Veganism has soared in popularity around the world, and data shows that Australia is at the forefront of the shift towards plant-based eating.
Interest in veganism around the world has doubled over the past five years, and shows no signs of slowing down, according to research by culinary website Chef’s Pencil. Australia is the second-most popular nation in the world for vegans in 2020, behind only the UK, according to Chef’s Pencil’s latest annual index of the the most popular countries and cities for veganism around the world.
To compile the index, Chef’s Pencil analysed Google Trends data and found that vegan-related searches in any language (e.g. “veganism”, “vegan restaurants”, “vegan rezepte”) were at an all-time high in 2020, surpassing the all-time high registered in 2019.
Adelaide was the highest-ranking Australian city for vegans, placing 14th globally.
Australia has one of the largest vegan communities worldwide, and interest in veganism continues to be fuelled by environmental concerns, researchers found.
“Climate change and its severe impact on Australia felt through extreme heatwaves has only added to the debate about farming and meat consumption,” they said.
“As a result, meat consumption has started to decline in Australia, though Australians still consume more meat per capita than pretty much most of the world.”
Instead of slowing the rise of veganism, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated it, Chef’s Pencil found.
“Searches for vegan recipes have soared and are still going very strong, although lockdown has ended in most parts of the world,” the firm said. “Restaurants have been hit badly, but according to HappyCow, more vegan restaurants have opened than closed during the pandemic.
“And ImpossibleFoods, one of the top producers of plant-based dishes, has announced record sales.”
Despite their concern for the environment and animal welfare, Generation Z has turned up its nose at the thought of lab-grown meat.
The consumer power of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015) is growing, but they view lab-grown meat “with disgust”, a new Australian study has shown.
Gen Z, or ‘zoomers’, account for 20 per cent of the Australian population, and two billion people globally.
They are concerned about the environmental impacts of traditional livestock farming, but most aren’t ready to embrace cultured meat, research by the University of Sydney and Curtin University published in Frontiers in Nutrition on Thursday showed.
Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Generation Z said they would not eat cultured meat – defined in the survey as a lab-grown meat alternative produced by in-vitro cell cultures of animal cells – instead of meat from slaughtered animals.
“Our research has found that Generation Z – those aged between 18 and 25 – are concerned about the environment and animal welfare, yet most are not ready to accept cultured meat and view it with disgust,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr Diana Bogueva from the University of Sydney’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Although unwilling to put lab-grown pork on their forks, 41 per cent of zoomers surveyed said they believed cultured meat could be a viable alternative source of nutrition because of the need to transition to more sustainable food options and improve animal welfare.

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