|You are in: UK|
Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 13:23 GMT
Is the veggie boom over?
It would seem that she is not alone. Now that BSE, e coli and foot-and-mouth scares have eased, the rate at which people are eschewing meat altogether has slowed.
With high-profile adherents such as Paul and Linda McCartney, and companies like the Body Shop raising awareness of green issues, more and more people chose to shun meat. Previously, it had been regarded as the choice of cranks and liberals, a movement associated with the temperance league and the suffragettes.
From 1984, when surveys first recorded such numbers, there has been a steady growth in vegetarians, from 2.1% of the UK population to 4% in 2001. Yet this latest figure shows a slight drop from 1999, a year when food safety fears gripped the nation.
Colin Spencer, the author of British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History, himself has fallen off the tofu wagon.
Could it be that the organic boom has calmed fears about the treatment of animals? Or that our increasingly foodie society wants to make the most of the plenty on offer?
Perhaps those who cut out meat to slim down have now moved onto the latest lo-carb/hi-protein diet fad? Or is it that the tantalising sizzle of bacon eventually proves too much for all but the most committed veggie?
The Vegetarian Society thinks not.
"The drop in numbers was the first small blip since 1984, and merely took us back to pre-BSE levels," says spokeswoman Liz O'Neill.
Piers Berezai, an analyst at market analysts Datamonitor, agrees that so-called meat reducers are growing in number.
"The real interest is to eat in order to maintain and improve health, so there's now a much larger group of people cutting down on their meat - especially red meat - intake."
This is no doubt in part because meatless meals have become far more adventurous, not to mention readily available.
Today, it has never been easier to get a good vegetarian meal in a pub or restaurant in the UK, Ms O'Neill says.
A far cry indeed from Mr Ching's spartan diet.
Are you a veggie who has succumbed to the temptations of flesh? Or have you decided to cut down your meat intake? Here's some of your comments:
Once eating no animal products seemed an easy moral line to draw. As I've become more informed on environmental issues it's less clear - is it better to drink soya milk manufactured in Belgium from beans grown in Canada, or cows' milk from the farm down the road?
After seven years as a vegetarian I got sick of paying over the odds for vege lasagne and ropey jacket spuds. Now I'm back to eating dead creatures. I feel not only healthier but also justly treated economically too.
I was a veggie for many years, but the smell of fried bacon finally got to me this year. I still don't eat a lot of meat, but I am not a total vegetarian anymore either.
I became a veggie last year when I realised that there are so many healthy, tasty, varied, attractive and delicious vegetarian meals you can make, that it simply isn't necessary to kill animals for our food. The only downside is eating out - when will restaurants realise that veggies are very often foodies as well?
I have recently readdressed why I became a vegetarian. Those reasons were to do with animal welfare, so now I eat game. If meat is from an animal or fish that has lived a wild and free life, and its numbers are not under threat, then I have no objection to eating it.
I've only strayed due to unfortunate accidents such as a Chinese takeaway delivering real beef instead of the "mock" beef ordered. Thanks to excellent veggie sausages and bacon (I've found one I like!) breakfast isn't a trauma. Lunchtimes are very frustrating, with most veggie sandwiches either cheese or egg - fine for once a week but not everyday.
I was veggie til a farmer showed me his sheep, the land they lived on and how they were cared for. He told me that if people stopped eating meat he would have to sell his land to developers who'd build houses and factories on it. So I eat meat, but not fish in protest of the current over-exploitation of our oceans.
I find vegetarians rather strange! However, I never eat large quantities of meat. Too much slows the digestive system. Too little and your health probably suffers. So enjoy animal products - it also helps support our farmers who are under pressure at the moment.
My mother and I have been vegetarian since seeing a film about the treatment of farm animals back in 1981. That day the mince and tins of beef all went in the bin and we've never regretted it.
I have become a vegetarian almost by default, due to my faith. As a Muslim, I am not permitted to eat any pig meat and only red meat/chicken that has had all its blood removed - which is almost impossible to outside specific restaurants/curry houses. So I am resigned to eating a lot of fish and vegetables when eating out.
My diet is the best of both worlds - mostly vegetarian with the occasional steak. I laugh at the pale, skinny self-righteous vegan and scoff at those fat, puffy meat-lovers who deride the veggies!
I'm not a vegetarian and thought that vegetarian meals would be dull - but I was proved wrong by my vegetarian girlfriend. It can be very tasty and healthy but that hasn't stopped me eating meat.
Why Britons in their 20s are miserable
25 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
24 May 01 | In Depth
05 Oct 01 | UK
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Top UK stories now:
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.
|E-mail this story to a friend|
Links to more UK stories
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>> | To BBC World Service>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy