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City of Montreal | The vegetarian turn of municipal facilities



The City of Montreal increasingly promotes vegetarianism when it organizes events and encourages those who manage food service areas in its facilities, particularly in large parks, to offer more plant-based products.

The goal of this shift: replace dietary protein to reduce the City’s carbon footprint.

Thus, Montreal undertakes to offer a minimum of 75% vegetarian offer during the events it organizes, to promote this type of product in concessions that sell food in municipal facilities and to encourage its population to increase their consumption of foods of plant origin.

This initiative is part of Montreal’s adherence to the declaration “The Good Food Cities”, relating to the good food practices of the C40, a global network of mayors who want to take urgent action against the climate crisis.

Evolution of tastes

Introducing such changes can be a challenge, admits the head of the environment on the executive committee, Marie-Andrée Mauger. “When we offer lunch boxes, it’s true that the meat options go faster than the vegetarian ones,” she observes. But that is changing rapidly and there are now very “gourmet” vegetarian offers. It gives people the opportunity to taste new things and discover that it’s good. »

The food counters at the Biodôme, Planetarium and Botanical Garden offer a 100% vegetarian menu. When renewing food concession contracts in other municipal facilities or parks, the City will ask them to increase their vegetarian offer, says Mauger.

About 5% of the Montreal population is vegetarian and 22% of people have eaten less meat since the start of the pandemic, according to the Montreal Food System Council, an organization that promotes healthy, diversified, local food. affordable and sustainable.

A Leger poll conducted on behalf of the council in 2021 indicates that those who consume less meat do so primarily for health reasons (45%), for ecological reasons (36%), out of concern for animal welfare (29%), because the price of meat has increased (27%) and because meat is more expensive than other proteins (22%).

City support

Anne Marie Aubert, coordinator of the council, sees positively the will of the City of Montreal to encourage vegetarian food. However, she wants municipal authorities to help food concession managers find suitable vegetarian products.

“We saw it when the City announced the gradual withdrawal of sugary drinks from its facilities, officials did not always know what the right alternative products were,” she recalls.

She also hopes that the municipal initiative will be accompanied by a communication campaign to inform the population of the reasons for this change in the food supply.

Other activities aimed at promoting vegetarian diets are also supported by the City, such as the Défi GEStes, which invites young people aged 13 to 17 to reduce their consumption of animal protein to reduce their carbon footprint. The second edition of this challenge has already begun and includes classroom workshops in addition to a mobile application.

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  • 5%
    Proportion of vegetarians in Montreal

    Source: Montreal Food System Council, 2021 survey

    Proportion of the population who reduced their meat consumption during the pandemic

    Source: Montreal Food System Council, 2021 survey

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