“Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, red
meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include
abstention from by products of animal slaughter.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism
Vegetarians are a group within society who choose not to eat meat of any kind,
and any by products of animal slaughter. Things include meat, poultry, seafood,
foods containing gelatin, cheese containing rennet and E numbers including
E120 and E542.
UK vegetarian demographics: In 2011 the number of vegetarians fell from 3 million in 2001 to 1.9
million in 2011. In 2012 2% of adults and children reported to be vegetarian, less than 1% reported to
be following a vegan diet. In the UK there are twice as many vegetarian women as men. A study done
in 2012 showed that there were more vegetarian children ages 1.5-18 years old, that adults in the UK.
Country Percentage Country Percentage
China 4.5% Taiwan 13%
Israel 5% India 31%
France 2% Germany 9%
Italy 10% Netherlands 4.5%
Portugal 0.3% Spain 0.5%
Sweden 10% Switzerland 5%
UK 2% Brazil 8%
Canada 4% USA 6%
Australia 5% New Zealand 1-2%
There are many different reasons for someone to be vegetarian. It could be for religious reasons,
health benefits, ethical issues, or just because the individual doesn’t like the taste of meat.
Religions that originated in India are typically vegetarian, such as Jainism, Hinduism and Mahayana
Buddhism. In Jainism it is compulsory to be vegetarian, where as in Hinduism and Mahayana
Buddhism it is advocated by religious leaders.
It has been suggested that reducing your meat consumption, especially red meat, is beneficial to your
health. Vegetarians are at a much lower risk of heart disease, colorectal ovarian and breast cancers,
diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Some people choose not to eat meat due to the ethical issues around slaughtering animals for meat.
Some may believe that the standards of farming are too low and that animals are treated badly. Though
some believe it is wrong to kill animals for human consumption all together, as they are living creatures
and all animals should be treated equally and fairly, rather than some animals be for pets and some for
There are a few companies that target a vegetarian audience. For example Quorn, Linda McCartney
Foods, VBites and Fry’s. These companies provide people with vegetarian foods, including meat
alternatives and recipe ideas. They mainly target vegetarians, rather than just “meat avoiders” as they
only provide vegetarian foods, and some of them also discuss issues such as the environment that
vegetarians and vegans may be particularly interested in.
Linda McCartney Foods have all been made with taste and health in mind. All the dishes make it easy
to be a vegetarian because of the large range of food choice. The company not only target vegetarians,
but they also target meat eaters to try encourage them to cut down on eating meat. They do this by
running campaigns such as ‘Meat Free Monday’ which gives meat eaters a step in the right direction.
On the non-food side of things, Lush, a beauty company have been doing a huge amount to tackle the
issue and animal use in beauty products. They have banned their products being tested on animals,
and they campaign against other companies that use animal testing.
Non vegetarian products:
Some products that may not be so obviously non vegetarian may contain meat or animal products.
Some food contains gelatine, which is the bone marrow from a pig or cow. It is used to give a jelly
texture to foods, so is used for jelly, jelly sweets, marshmallows and some other deserts with a similar
texture. The brand most known for using gelatine in their sweets is Haribo.
Some E numbers are not suitable for vegetarians as they are made from animals. E120, or Cochineal
is made from crushed up small insects. This E number is used to intensify the red colour in some food.
E542 is made from animal bones. Dannon often used E120 in their strawberry yoghurts.
In some cases wine may not be vegetarian. When producing wine they sometimes use gelatine,
isinglass (fish bladders) and chitosan (crustacean shells).
Some cheeses may not be vegetarian either. Cheeses such as Parmesan use something called rennet
(claves stomach). So this cheese and products containing this cheese such as Pesto are not suitable
for vegetarians. https://www.vegsoc.org/cheese