A new survey commissioned by Tel Aviv Global & Tourism reveals that almost one in ten (4%) of Tel Aviv-Yafo residents now self-identify as vegan and 4.5% define themselves as vegetarian.

The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is home to approximately 450,000 residents and from the representational sample – carried out by leading research institute Geocartography Knowledge Group – the number of vegans and vegetarians in Tel Aviv was tallied at nearly 40,000. A further 30,000 residents (6.6%) describe themselves as pescatarian.

From fresh juice stands to hummus bars and Middle Eastern-inspired vegan gourmet dining, the city is recognized around the world for its diverse and thriving culinary scene, now home to some 40 vegan, 44 vegetarian and 171 ‘veg-friendly’ restaurants, according to non-profit organization Happy Cow.

Thanks in part to Tel Aviv’s status as a ‘magnet for lovers of plant-based food’, the city was dubbed as one of BBC Good Food’s Destinations for Foodies in 2020.

The meat reduction market

The data also reveals growth in the meat reduction movement, with 37.4% of Tel Avivian meat-eaters having substantially (13.1%) or slightly (24.3%) reduced their meat consumption during the past year; a further 31% plan to reduce their meat consumption during 2021 and 2.2% hope to eliminate meat from their diet.

And the rise in popularity of concepts such as Meat-free Mondays is also gathering support amongst Tel Avivians; the survey found that 48.8% now eat an entirely vegan meal at least twice a week.

Eitan Ben-Ami, director of the Environment and Sustainability Authority at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, comments: “The results of the survey demonstrate a positive and impressive trend of healthy eating among the residents of Tel Aviv-Yafo, primarily resulting from a shift towards a sustainable Mediterranean diet, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

“The diverse food scene here, including many vegan restaurants, makes Tel Aviv-Yafo an exciting culinary experience for residents and visitors alike. I am delighted to see that Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality’s efforts to encourage sustainable and healthy eating are being reflected across the city, benefiting both residents and the environment.”

Image credit: Din Aharoni Rolland