No wonder Canada’s flag has a giant leaf in the middle of it—Canadians are eating vegan like there’s no tomorrow (and giving themselves and animals a lot more tomorrows in the process).
Vegan eating is spreading like wildflowers across the second-largest country in the world. According to new research by Mintel, more than half of Canadians report that they regularly eat meat alternatives, and 18 percent say that they enjoy those foods at least a few times a week. Google Canada reports that interest in animal-free food has never been higher and that veganism was a top-searched trend in 2017. And chefs across the country say that plant-centric eating continued to be a top food trend in 2018.
Led by the likes of Canadian vegetarians and vegans including Pamela Anderson, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain, James Cameron, Ellen Page, and Drake, a growing number of people in the country, especially those under 35, are seeking cruelty-free food out of concern for animals, the environment, and their health.
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Canada’s new proposed dietary guidelines tout plant-based foods as more eco-friendly. And as people search for information, they’re learning that if they’re serious about protecting the environment, the most important thing that they can do is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy “products.” The proposed guidelines recommend a “[r]egular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein-rich foods—especially plant-based sources of protein” and urge people to consume less meat and saturated fat derived from animal sources. More than a fifth of residents now agree that eating plant-based mock meats is healthier than consuming animal flesh.
With demand comes supply, and food companies, restauranteurs, and large chains are all answering consumers’ call for kindness. Toronto’s Mythology Diner offers “the classics veganized,” Vancouver’s Roots+Fruits delivers on its name, and Planta Burger is Toronto’s “completely meat and dairy-free burger joint, complete with fries, shakes and root beer floats.” A&W offers Beyond Burgers at its more than 850 locations in Canada and recently introduced the vegan Beyond Meat Sausage and Veggie breakfast sandwich. Beyond Meat also announced that the Beyond Burger will be available for purchase in more than 3,000 Canadian grocery stores.
Mexican-inspired chain Quesada offers a Beyond Meat burrito at its 117 locations, Pizza Pizza added vegan cheese to the menu at all its stores, and vegan fast-food chain Globally Local offers burgers, tacos, and all-day breakfast at its three locations in Ontario. Vancouver-based eatery The Acorn Restaurant just won the title of “Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant in the World,” owing to its “inspirational” offerings.
And the nearly 100-year-old burger chain White Spot rolled out the Avocado Beyond Burger and Beyond Meat–filled Southwest Power Bowl at its 64 locations, saying it did so, “Quite simply, because our guests have asked.” The chain went on to make Beyond Burgers available at its 70 quick-service burger restaurants, Triple O’s, which include standalone restaurants and counter service at college campuses, gas stations, and entertainment venues.
Check out some of Canucks’ favorite stuff here, and see which ones you can score for yourself. And dive into hundreds more free vegan recipes inspired by healthy, cruelty-free cuisines from around the globe.