My friend mentioned that one of his colleagues was vegetarian. Not for ethical reasons, but because vegetarianism would, allegedly, be a cheaper and more sustainable diet.
I have to admit that coming from a middle class family, growing up without a care in the world and having more than enough food from breakfast to dinner, this had never crossed my mind. Becoming vegetarian was a mix of “I hate red meat anyway” and later on, realizing how much suffering goes into the meat production which is something I decided I didn’t want to be a part of anymore.
Maybe the transitioning was made easier for me because I had access to all the food options, but what about those who don’t ? Have you ever thought that people might be giving up meat because they want to reduce the cost of their groceries ?
Let’s just search the web for more answers together. When I typed in ” economic vegetarianism”, here is what I found :
An economic vegetarian is a person who practices vegetarianism from either the philosophical viewpoint that the consumption of meat is expensive, part of a conscious simple living strategy or just because of necessity.
An economic vegetarian is defined as someone who practices vegetarianism as part of a simple living strategy, due to the viewpoint that meat is more expensive or unnecessary. To many, economic vegetarianism harkens back to days gone by when meat was a celebratory food for special occasions only (Source).
A vegetarian diet offers monetary advantages as well. Many vegetarian foods cost far less than animal products, allowing consumers to cut their household expenses even as the cost of living rises steeply around them (Source).
There are many more articles out there and I am sure you will be able to find them. I read about 5 to 6 of them and picked what I wanted to focus on.
So, you know me, I don’t discriminate. Whatever your reason is for not eating meat, great ! I’m happy about that. And if it helps you save money, that’s amazing. It’s win win for all of us. But if you are vegetarian for economic reasons alone, would it mean that given the chance, you would go back to eating meat ?
Now, living in London, vegetarian or not, you spend a lot of money anyway. The Oyster card is crazy expensive and the rent costs an arm and a leg.
I honestly don’t know if I spend more money than a meat eater. I know that I spend around £30 of grocery for a week. There are also the dinners out which would be around £20.00. But those numbers are just an approximate.
I asked 5 of my friends how much they spend per week on groceries. Three live in England with me, one in France and one in Germany. Only one of them is vegan.
Cecile : A french meat eater said : I do the grocery shopping every week or 10 days and I spend around 50 euros” ( 43 pounds ).
Pascaline : A french meat eater who lives in London spends per week, 30 to 35 pounds.
Chris : A meat eater who lives in England as well spends around 50 pounds per week on groceries.
Stuart : A vegan who lives in Germany spends around 30 euros on groceries per week ( 26 pounds ). He also added that he never had to buy meat ever so he wouldn’t be able to tell me if he had been saving money.
Alex : A meat eater who lives in London spends around 35-40 pounds a week on groceries.
Crazy how much we spend on food every week. Excluding the restaurants and the occasional snacks or cravings.
Looking at my list above, the clear winner is my vegan friend. Although, he does not live in England and did tell me groceries are pretty cheap where he lives ( he was born and raised in England ), the difference is big.
Looking into what I eat, I mostly buy food I can conserve, such as frozen fruit, lentils, rice and pasta. It does already reduce the cost of my groceries in general. However, my quorn chicken is more expensive than the simple 350 grams of chicken from Tesco. So my vegetarian diet would be less expensive if I restrained buying meat substitutes.
Instead of comparing the cost of the meat and veggies and everything else, I was thinking about doing a small case study. We would take two individuals and compare how much they spend on food for a week and I’d report at the end of the week. It could give us an interesting take on the day to day diet and cost of living for a meat eater and a vegetarian. A little comparison does not hurt and It would be a fun thing to do. For me at least.
So please let me know if you would be interested by that guys.
Also please let me know what you think about the subject ? Do you think an economic vegetarian would eventually go back to eating meat ?