Plant-based foods are growing in popularity while meat consumption across Canada is dropping, according to a recent study.
In Lethbridge, companies are seeing some residents making these shifts in their diets with the release of Beyond Meat foods: high protein, plant-based food products.
“It’s at fast food chains. It’s at big box stores,” said Cris Robinson, a nutritional consultant and owner of the Purple Carrot, a local health food store.
“You can go everywhere and find plant-based foods now. It’s big.”
The burgers were popularized by the Beyond Meat company — first launched in A&W restaurants — and then became available in grocery stores across the country this month.
Beyond Meat foods offer similar products such as burgers and sausages but they’re made completely from plant-based ingredients, which Robinson said is very comparable to their meat counterparts.
“In a beyond burger, there’s actually 20 grams of protein, which is a good chunk of protein depending on the size of your burger,” Robinson said Wednesday.
“So it would be comparable to a meat burger.”
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So far, many are happy to get on board with the beyond-meat diet.
A study of more than 1,000 Canadians conducted by Dalhousie University last year found more than half of its participants were willing to reduce their meat consumption. The same study also found that 6.4 million Canadians are already following a diet that restricts meat partially or completely.
In Lethbridge, Robinson sells both beef and plant-based burgers in her specialty store and has already noticed a slight change in her meat sales.
“We may have seen a slight decline in it,” Robinson said. “We definitely have more space for our vegan items now than we do for our meat.”
But what does this mean for local farmers and producers?
Ryan Kasko with Kasko Cattle Ltd. said he isn’t too worried about the perceived switch in diets yet.
“Sometimes there [are] trends that come along, and we’ve seen a rise of these alternative proteins,” Kasko said.
“But demand for protein around the world is increasing, so I think there probably will be a bit of a balance between meat-based proteins and plant-based proteins and it’ll settle out where it should.”
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