A Quarter of Hong Kong’s population practise flexitarian
Nearly 5% of Hong Kong female are vegetarian
Plea for increasing plant-based options in all local malls and restaurants
Green Monday announced the results of the latest “Hong Kong Vegetarian Habit Survey” with the following key findings:
- Nearly a quarter of Hong Kong population practise flexitarian
- The number of female vegetarians increased significantly from less than 2% to nearly 5%
- Almost one-third of Hongkongers heard about Green Monday
- 70% Hongkongers are willing to practise flexitarian
- The ratio of “hardcore meat lovers” almost halved compared with 4 years ago
Nearly a quarter of Hong Kong’s population practise flexitarian
Green Monday commissioned the biennial “Hong Kong Vegetarian Habit Survey” (the “Survey”) in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The latest results indicated that Hongkongers were more receptive of a plant-based diet than before. Nearly a quarter of Hong Kong’s population (23.7% ) practise flexitarian at various degrees (includes people who are vegetarian “once every week”, “half time in a week” and “full-time”), the figure higher than 2016 (22.0%) and 2014 (22.6%). The survey shows a growing vegetarian population, with a nearly 50% growth from 2.5% in 2016 to 3.7% in 2018. The results revealed a paradigm shift in dietary habits of Hong Kong – Hongkongers are shifting to a plant-based diet.
From the gender perspective, 4.8% and 2.3% female and male Hongkongers are vegetarian.
One-third of the respondents heard about Green Monday and 70% are willing to go Green Monday (going plant-based one day a week)
The ratio of respondents who heard about Green Monday has grown from 29.3% (2016) to 32.1%. 69.6% of respondents expressed they “will” and “likely will” practise vegetarian one day a week, compared with 63.6% in 2016.
“Hardcore meat lovers” almost halved compared with 4 years ago
The ratio of “hardcore meat lovers” dropped significantly from 27.1% in 2014 to 17.2% in 2016, and further dropped to 15.2% in 2018. The phenomenon that more Hongkongers are reducing their meal consumption is in line with the global trend. Health Canada has recently released their new food guide which has removed milk and dairy products from the list and encourages people to increase the uptake of protein from plant-based sources(1).
The golden opportunity lies in female vegetarian market
With the uprising of “Womenonics”, the female vegetarian market should be targeted. According to the research report released by capital management company Guotai Junan International, with the growing incoming level, uprising social and family status of females in Mainland China, almost 75% of family purchasing decisions are driven by females.
“Vegetarians in Hong Kong is a significant demographic that shouldn’t be neglected,” explains David Yeung, founder of Green Monday. “This Survey revealed one in every four Hong Kong women practise flexitarian and almost 5% are vegetarian. While women have a bigger say in the family’s purchasing habit, this provides a big insight for the market.”
Green Monday plea to increase vegetarian restaurants or menu options
David also made a plea to all shopping malls, restaurant stakeholders and corporations to take reference from the Survey results and increase the number of plant-based options on the menu. “Corporations, hospitals and school canteens should turn one-fourth plant-based options on their menus to meet the growing flexitarian demand– catering to one-fourth of Hong Kong’s flexitarian population according to the Survey result.”
Provided that 3.7% of the Hong Kong population and 4.8% of females are vegetarian suggests Hong Kong, which currently has more than 15,000 restaurants(2), should have 555 to 720 vegetarian restaurants to fulfill the demand. However, David pointed out that currently there are less than three hundred vegetarian restaurants, implying there is much room for growth. Quoting Green Common, the one-stop plant-based concept store cum restaurant, as an example, the annual sales turnover of 2018 has doubled compared with 2017 and has maintained the same growth over the past 3 years, reflecting the continuous growth of demand for plant-based foods. Shopping malls should also increase the proportion of vegetarian restaurants to meet the demand of flexitarians.
The threatening African Swine Fever is expected to continuously strike Asia, Europe and the US in 2019. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China announced in January there were over 910,000 pigs had been killed in China(3). Thai government has banned all entry of Chinese pork and pork products following the same enforcement by Taiwanese government. Industrialised livestock farming is unsustainable as the process consumes huge amounts of land and water resources, abuses the use of antibiotics and provides inhumane living environments for animals. Globally we should phase out the existing meat production with a more sustainable way of production to achieve the rudimentary resolution. The United Nations has also recommended a plant-based diet (or vegetarian) as the sustainable, low carbon-footprint direction of diet(4).
- Canada’s food guide 2019, Government of Canada. source
- Pleasant Environment Statistics 2014-2017 by FEHD HKSAR. source
- hk01 : 官方：已撲殺生豬91.6萬頭 疫情點狀散發未流行蔓延 source
- UNEP: Tackling the world’s most urgent problem: meat. source
The Survey was conducted biannually via telephone interviews in December 2018 to examine the vegetarian habit and views of practising flexitarian on Mondays. The 1,002 respondents from the city’s population were between the ages of 14 and 65. To ensure the Survey was representative, survey data and responses were weighted against the demographics of Hong Kong’s population, including age, gender, occupation and monthly family income. The Survey was conducted by IPSOS, an independent market research company.