Hindu Press International
India's Growing Appetite For Meat Challenges Traditional Values
NEW YORK, February 5, 2013 (NY Daily News): With German sausages, French duck and homegrown chicken, Francis Menezes is cashing in on the growing appetite for meat among Indians -- even in one of Mumbai's most strictly vegetarian areas. But Menezes, co-manager of the Cafe Ridge food store, says he does a brisk trade in "non-veg", especially with those who have studied abroad.
"Things like Thanksgiving, which was never celebrated over here in Mumbai, is now being celebrated every year. The new generation are cool with eating anything," he said.
India's booming middle-class is driving the demand for meat in a country with a traditionally low intake -- a survey in 2006 showed that 40 percent of the population were vegetarian.
Fish and meat have long been part of other Indians' diets but for many they used to be a rarity, said Arvind Singhal, chairman of the consumer consultancy group Technopak Advisors. "With rising disposable incomes, meat consumption is increasing," he told AFP. "Before meat would have been seen as for a special occasion."
Members of the Jain faith and some groups within India's majority Hindu religion hold vegetarianism as an ideal. Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi espoused a meat-free diet as part of his non-violent philosophy.
There are no recent figures on overall meat consumption, but the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2007 put India's per capita intake at 5.0 to 5.5kg -- the country's highest since records began, with further increases expected.
HPI note: Worldwide meat consumption is 46.6 kg/person, according to a chart at http://chartsbin.com/view/bhy. That same chart lists India as the lowest consumption in the world at 3.26 kg, Luxembourg the highest as 136.72 kg, the US and Australia tied for second at 123 kg/year.
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