As more Canadians reduce their meat intake or abstain from meat entirely, there has been in an upswing in the number of restaurants and stores catering to the plant-based diet boon.

November 1 is World Vegan Day and Dalhousie University has released the findings of a study on the attitudes of Canadians towards plant-based protein alternatives.

“More and more Canadians are considering reducing the amount of protein from meat in their diets,” explained professor Sylvain Charlebois, principal investigator for Plant-based dieting and meat attachment: Protein wars and the changing Canadian consumer, in a statement released earlier this week. “Canada’s new food guide will be released in the months to come, and advances in technology have given consumers more protein choices.”

“We wanted to learn more about what Canadians think about eating meat and plant-based alternatives, and how willing they are to reduce their meat consumption and consider new types of programs.”

The researchers found the eating habits of Canadians are changing as younger generations embrace diets that stray from the days of conventional meat and potatoes.

“We tried to estimate how many Canadians out there are either reducing their consumption of meat or eliminating meat altogether from their diets, and that number is 6.4 million Canadians,” said Charlebois in an interview with CTV.   “That’s basically the population of the greater Toronto area.”

Blanco Cantina on 17 Avenue Southwest recently launched ‘Meatless Mondays’ with vegan and vegetarians options, including jackfruit tacos, in response to customer demand.

“We see people from every age group wanting and requesting it,” said Alanah Sheridan of Blanco Cantina. “It’s not just vegans and vegetarians ordering it. We get meat eaters in that are curious about the jackfruit and what it tastes like.”

According to the researcher group, the decline in meat consumption can be attributed to a number of factors including health, price, taste, environmental concerns and concerns regarding animal welfare.

With files from CTV’s Ina Sidhu