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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Monday, August 14, 2006

South Leads The Pack In Non-Veg

A recent survey by The Hindu and CNN-IBN on the food habits of Indians has revealed that only 40% of the population are vegetarians (for the purpose of convenience, I have clubbed the eggeterian population with the vegetarian figure). The survey goes on to say that coastal states have a significantly higher percentage of non-vegetarians. Since the four southern states happen to be coastal states, the percentage of meat eaters in these states are among the highest in India. The survey also gives numbers under two units - families and individuals.

The survey confirms the widespread impression that the popular image of a vegetarian India is off the mark. The late Professor Kumar Suresh Singh analysed the data of the People of India project to show that a majority of our communities are non-vegetarians. The present survey fixes figures not only for communities but also for individuals and families.

The findings show that only 31 per cent of Indians are vegetarians. The figure is 21 per cent for families (with all vegetarian members). Another nine per cent of the population is `eggetarian,' or vegetarians who eat eggs.

Vegetarianism has a predictable pattern: women are more likely to be vegetarian than men and so are those above the age of 55. But there is no broad correspondence between age and vegetarianism. Among the young, the figure is only slightly below the national average.

The findings show that vegetarianism is a function of inherited cultural practice rather than individual belief. Religion and community matter: as many as 55 per cent of Brahmins are vegetarians. The corresponding figure for Adivasis is 12 per cent. Hindus who worship every day are more likely to be vegetarian, but the majority of all Hindus are non-vegetarian. Interestingly, eight per cent of Christians are also
vegetarians.
Some more stats could have thrown some light on the trend in the eating patterns. Some data on the percentage of first generation non-vegetarians (converts from veg to non-veg in the last few years) would have been interesting. They could have also presented the data on the converts from non-veg to veg in the recent past. There are a bunch of people who don't get to eat non-veg at home as family norms don't permit non-veg to be cooked in their homes. These people end up eating non-veg either at a friend's place or in some restaurant. The frequency of their meat intake would help us in classifying the non-veg category so that we can get some insight about the 60%.

Finally, if the above figures are true, I would be curious to know if someone has tracked The Hindu rental classifieds over the years and whether owners are more willing to rent their place to non-vegetarians given the changing trend in food habits.

17 Comments:

  • not sure how accurate that is.. various researches, including NRS and our own surveys show the 14-18% of the pop is non - veg - including eggetarians..though if this is true its good news for cobra's chicken farms

    By Blogger the saint, at 1:19 PM  

  • It is not a myth that India is a vegetarian country. Even if 20% of the population is vegetarian from birth(I am saying this 'birth' thing becos I am trying to consciously exclude oldies who have been advised to go veg by their docs), that is a much higher percentage than that of any other country where the figure would never exceed 1%. By saying that India is a vegetarian country, nobody implied that 90% of the people are vegetarians, but they implied that the percentage of ppl who are veg is the highest in the world(which is an undisputable fact) and that it is not unusual to find vegetarians - certainly 20% is a significant figure. They also mean that there is enough variety available in veg fare for a veg guy to survive very comfortably in India.

    By Blogger redrajesh, at 1:57 PM  

  • How can u guyz kill an animal and enjoy eating it?? cruel fellas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:40 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger RaajK, at 4:33 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger RaajK, at 4:41 PM  

  • Perhaps fish eating contributes to the bulk of non-veg in south (Thereby also breaking the myth that south-indians tend to be vegetarians).

    I would be interested in knowing how many % are vegetarian due to religion and how many by choice.

    India would still lead the world veg population by sheer numbers.

    By Blogger Cogito, at 9:03 PM  

  • Most of the times, when I ask for veggie food in the restaurants, I have been asked whether all the Indians are veggies.. think I can point them to this report. :P

    By Blogger Chakra Sampath, at 10:30 PM  

  • promise me this is the last time u will quote that stupid poll. please no more, mafia. this is real terror!

    By Blogger Nandhu, at 6:22 AM  

  • The question should have been:


    Out of Ten times that you eat, how many times do you consume Non-Veg Food and veg Food.

    So a Non-vegetarian who eats mostly veg but eats Non-Veg on rare ocassions(I know too many of these) would boost up the vegetarian choice instinct instead of being counted as a whole.

    That way we could have measured propensity to consume vegetarian food.

    By Anonymous definitely maybe, at 7:11 AM  

  • ‘The Story behind Fourteen floors is damn good. I have included this articles a link in my recent post

    It’s hard to find which building is tallest in Madras. Tallest does not mean only the number of floors.

    What about ‘Brahmandamai’? in Panagal Park areas? But I liked the way you write.
    ambimama

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 AM  

  • The survey is Half baked and misleading, because, it does not tell us how much of Meat/Chicken/SeaFood do the Non Vegetarians Consume.

    I know so many Non Vegetarians personally, who call themselves so, who take meat only on certain celebrations/occasions . In other words, even among the 60% Non Vegetarian Indians, Meat/Animal Foods would make up only 15-20% of the diet.

    The exception to this would be communities like Muslims and Parses, but even among them, the poor cannot afford a 3 time a day meal of meat.

    In Western Countries, Non Vegetarians are those who have things like beef, twice or thrice a day. Is that the case in India?

    So INDIA is STILL a Vegetarian Country, and our "Mount Road Mao" has probably some vested interest in proving otherwise... maybe N.Ram wants to feast McDonald Burgers in Chennai ....

    PS - I guess that within India, Kerala, Kashmir, North East and Bengal are practically devoid of Vegetarians... infact there would be more vegetarians (in percent terms) in UK and California than in Kerala.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM  

  • Interestingly i beleive that Vegetarians are a significant minority in Western Countries like UK (according to Wikipedia) and some survey tells that 6-8% of Americans (mostly women??) are vegetarians...

    Which is interesting because till 50 years back, meat was the staple food of Western World....

    And here in Kerala less than 2% are vegetarians... Time and Tide Change no one i guess...

    By Anonymous Ramki830, at 4:20 PM  

  • @Saint,
    Even I have my own doubts about this survey.

    @Redrajesh,
    In percentage terms and also in terms of numbers, India would outnumber other countries in this aspect.

    @Cogito,
    Even I'm curious to know the number of vegetarians by choice and numbers.

    @Chakra,
    this report should serve that purpose. I wonder why people ask u that since CHikken Tikka Masala is britain's most popular dish

    @Definitely maybe,
    the non-veg figure could have been bloated by the reasons cited by you.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 11:49 AM  

  • kaps, your last 2 paras scream "We are MBA types and we are like thees wonly".;-)

    By Blogger Deepa, at 2:48 PM  

  • lol...Mount Road Mao. That Anon is very funny. But why would anybody lose sleep if India indeed has a large % of non-veg eaters?

    By Blogger Deepa, at 2:51 PM  

  • Given the alarcity with which we, Indians, go after blood, it is surprising how we could've been mistaken for a vegetarian country :)

    By Blogger Anil P, at 11:25 PM  

  • "How can u guyz kill an animal and enjoy eating it?? cruel fellas"

    - Hey you should give it a try. The taste seems to keep the inner conscience at bay :-(

    By Blogger Eshwar S, at 11:16 AM  

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