Why are most vegans and vegetarians under the age of 35?

Why are most vegans and vegetarians under the age of 35?

A recent survey in Canada revealed that most vegans are under the age of 35. This means that the older generation does not seem as interested in going vegan as the younger generation. The poll, conducted by Dalhousie University Professor Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, reported that 7.1 percent of Canadians call themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 percent consider themselves vegan.

According to the results, people under 35 were three times more likely to consider themselves vegans or vegetarians than those older than them.  More than half of those who declared themselves as vegans or vegetarians are under the age of 35, which was surprising to Dr. Charlebois.  

“As we were collecting data, we started to realize that this is rich data that will help us understand where veganism and vegetarianism are going in the country,” said Dr. Charlebois.

“Those are really, really high numbers,” he said.  "Even though we believe the overall rates have not gone up, they could go up over the next couple of decades as a result of seeing such a high number of young consumers committing to specialty diets… That will actually impact food demand over the next few decades and I suspect the food industry will need to adapt.”

Among the reasons that Charlebois believes make younger people become vegetarian or vegan are:

  • concern over animal welfare
  • concern over the industrialization of agriculture
  • their own carbon footprint
  • concern for their own health

Dr. Charlebois considers health to be a major reason for this trend.  “A lot of studies are actually discouraging consumers from eating red meats specifically. Even the World Health Organization has made processed meats a category one product, which means it could cause cancer, at the same level as asbestos.”