Vegan Restaurant Boom in Canada Fueled by Meat Eaters, Says Business Owners

Pizza Libretto

Canada has seen an influx of vegan spots as of late, as plant-based eating has been said to be the “dining of the future,” according to The Canadian Press. The publication spoke with multiple vegan business owners regarding this plant-based boom and discovered that it’s not being fueled by vegans, but by veg-curious omnivores interested in trying vegan food. 

According to resource Ethical Tree, the number of vegan-friendly restaurants in Ontario alone has increased by 46 locations within just the last year.

“I think we’re living in kind of a boom of veganism,” explained Eva Lampert, 5700 Inc.’s director of vegan operations. “People are more curious about it, and thankfully, that has meant there’s more demand for it.”

Lampart is also involved with Toronto’s first ever vegan neighborhood, colloquially dubbed “Vegandale,” a plant-powered hub of vegan businesses looking to unite the community with cruelty-free living.

Vegandale Rendering

As part of a business plan for Vegandale, the neighborhood is intending to double its restaurants by the end of the year. “With our business model, we’re looking to get the non-vegans in first and foremost. We’re really looking to bring in the skeptics and the people who are unsure of vegan food so they can kind of have that ‘aha’ moment and realize a lot of the things they already are enjoying are vegan,” added Lampart.

Co-owner of chain restaurant Pizzeria Libretto, Max Rimaldi, noted “The people who come into the restaurant and say, ‘I typically eat at … a meat-based restaurant, and I love coming here because I don’t miss the meat,’ that’s going to be the biggest compliment we can hear.” Rimaldi plans to open his a vegan Mexican restaurant, Rosalinda, in the Toronto’s financial district shortly.

Canadians across the country are becoming more open to vegan foods. A recent study by Mintel found 53% of Canadians eat vegan meat alternatives, regardless of their dietary stance. Further, survey data released in March showed that nearly 40% of people under the age of 35 living in British Columbia identify as vegan or vegetarian. Another study conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Canadian Meat Council discovered Canadians are eating less meat than what is suggested in the nation’s food guide recommendations. Even the government is catching on; it invested $150 million into farms focusing on vegan protein crops last month.

Image Credit: Pizza Libretto