World Food Day: What are Australia’s major dietary preferences – and most favourite cuisines?
October 13th, 2023, Samuel Tan

World Food Day: What are Australia’s major dietary preferences – and most favourite cuisines?

Earlier this year in January, we explored data from YouGov Profiles which revealed that close to two in five Australian consumers say they are actively trying to reduce their meat consumption.

Now, ahead of World Food Day, latest research by YouGov reveals how widespread adoption of alternative diets in which little or no meat is consumed has grown in Australia – some ten months later.

In this article, we uncover the proportion of Australians who subscribe to various diets, what most influences the food choices of different diet followers, and how various cuisines rank in popularity by diet type.

Alternative diets in Australia: how common are they?

Latest YouGov Surveys research shows that two-thirds of consumers in Australia (66%) consider themselves as meat eaters. About a fifth (19%) see themselves as flexitarians who eat a primarily plant-based diet, but still occasionally consume meat and fish.

Only 6% of consumers adopt a fully plant-based diet (i.e. vegetarian) that may exclude all animal products, such as eggs and milk (i.e. vegan).

Pescetarians, who eat seafood – but not meat from land animals – in addition to plant-based foods make up just 5% of all Australian consumers.

Across generations, most consumers say they are meat eaters. But Baby Boomers are significantly more likely to – three-quarters say they regularly consume meat or poultry – while Millennials and Gen X are significantly less likely to – with less than three in five saying the same.

About one-quarter of Millennials and Gen X consider themselves flexitarians – a significantly higher proportion compared to an eighth of Gen Z and Baby Boomers.

Meanwhile, younger consumers (Gen Z and Millennials) are more likely to adopt a fully plant-based vegetarian/vegan diet, compared to older generations (Gen X and Baby Boomers).

Across major states in Australia, at least three in five consumers say their meals regularly contain meat or poultry, with the flexitarian diet being the next most popular.

Notably, vegetarianism/veganism is significantly more popular in Victoria – where one in ten consumers have adopted a fully plant-based diet.

What do Australians of various dietary preferences most consider when making food choices?

Across all diets, taste is the top consideration for consumers when deciding what to eat. But this is highest among meat eaters – where three in five rank it as their most prioritised factor – compared to less than half of pescetarians, flexitarians and vegetarians/vegans.

Price – how much a food costs – is the next most significant consideration among meat eaters, pescetarians and vegetarians/vegans, followed by how healthy the food is. However, among flexitarians a larger proportion indicate health as a top consideration when deciding what to eat compared to price.

What are Australians’ most favourite cuisines – across different diet types?

Overall across diet types, Australian, Italian and Thai stand out as Aussies’ top most favoured cuisines, followed by Chinese and Indian.

Local food – Australian cuisine – is most popular among pescetarians and flexitarians, and second most popular among meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans.

Italian is second most popular among pescetarians and flexitarians, and ranks among the top five among both meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans.

Thai comes in third among pescetarians, flexitarians, vegetarians/vegans, and fourth among meat eaters.

Chinese cuisine is most popular among meat eaters, but ranks fifth among pescetarians and further down the top ten most favourite cuisine among flexitarians and vegetarians/vegans.

Indian cuisine is most popular among vegetarians/vegans, but ranks fifth and seventh among meat eaters and flexitarians, and is not within the top ten among pescetarians.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online in October 2023, with a national sample of 1,039 Australian residents, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of all adults residing in Australia (18 years or older) and reflect the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Cover Photo by Mlenny