A new survey from Dalhousie University shows just under a third of Canadians are thinking of reducing their meat consumption over the next six months.

It also estimates over 6.4 million Canadians have dietary preferences which reduces, or eliminates, meat consumption.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association's Stakeholder Engagement Advisor, Stina Nagel, says this isn't news to the beef industry.

"It's a trend that we've seen growing over some time, and that's not to say Canadians are not consuming meat, they still certainly are, and there's a lot of misinformation out there, so it's something we saw coming. We see a role for a balanced variety of foods in our diets, and it's something we want to make sure the public has all the facts before they make these kinds of decisions."

Nagel says, the term 'thinking' of reducing meat consumption could mean something different to each respondent, as over half of them said they were still big fans of meat.

She adds, beef is a nutrient rich protein, but has a bad rap because of saturated fat.

"More current studies are showing that saturated fat might not be such a bad thing. It all relates back to portion control and how you're eating it. There's a big difference between eating a beef stir fry with a lot of vegetables and a giant burger with fries."

Nagel says, in terms of the environmental impact of beef, Canada has the most sustainable beef production practices in the world and ranching plays a big role in conserving grasslands.

Although the survey shows consumers are thinking of reducing their meat consumption, it says Canadians aren't quite ready to bite into lab grown meat and insects as alternatives.

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