Sydney Restaurants Are Ditching Meat From Menus  

Vegan, Western-style restaurants have been on the rise, with animal-free options like fish and chips, ice cream and burgers building in popularity. 

The research found that Asian businesses dominated vegan restaurant growth in  the western suburbs, including Cabramatta and Fairfield from the 1990s to 2011.  

These restaurants reflected the Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Hare Krishna beliefs of their surrounding multicultural communities.  

The research also revealed that more Sydneysiders had become flexitarians, a semi-vegetarian diet in which people do not eat meat one or more days a week. 

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So are we all becoming ‘flexitarians’? And why is there a trend of restaurants calling animal-free options ‘plant-based’ on menus instead of ‘vegan’? 

On today’s This Arvo In Sydney, host Sacha Barbour Gatt spoke to Associate Professor Andrew McGregor about his research on the popularity of meat-free food in Sydney. 

McGregor led a team of geographers who identified more than 140 cafes, restaurants and vegan food retailers whose owners are opposed to animal agriculture for various overlapping reasons, including animal rights, environment, health and religion. 

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He said that since 2012, there had been a rapid increase in Western-style restaurants in wealthier, inner-city and eastern suburbs areas, particularly Glebe, Newtown and Bondi, catering to consumers predominantly of Anglo and European heritage. 

Rather than take to the streets, they are taking to their kitchens, adopting a more visceral, quiet activism that employs food and taste to convince consumers of the benefits of plant-based food,”

McGregor said.

He said being a flexitarian has become a big trend in Australia, associated with health and environmental issues.  

A lot of the people who come to these restaurants are not necessarily vegetarian or vegan, but they are interested in reducing their diets, are also curious to reduce the amount of meat they’re eating,”

he said.

Hosted by Sacha Barbour, This Arvo in Sydney is a 10 to 12 minute daily news podcast made just for Sydney! Listen now on the Listnr app.