The Korea Herald


Only 0.2% of Koreans avoid meat, vegans even rarer, study finds

By Ahn Ju-hee

Published : March 14, 2022 - 17:59

    • Link copied

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
A report released by Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation on Monday found that only 13 out of the 5,510 respondents, which represents a mere 0.2 percent, chose not to eat meat, specifically beef, pork, poultry, and fish.

The questionnaire covered seven different types of vegetarian diet, from the most restrictive form, veganism, to more lenient ones along the scale.

Out of the 5,510 respondents, 418 followed some kind of meat restrictive diet. These include some less restrictive patterns such as flexitarians, who consume meat sporadically; pollotarians, who avoid red meat but still eat poultry; and pescetarians, who stay away from both poultry and red meat but eat fish. Each represented 79.7 percent, 11 percent, and 6 percent of the vegetarians.

Stricter vegetarians abstain from any kind of meat consumption; no red meat, no poultry, no fish. Such rigorous dietary pattern was practiced by only 13 respondents out of the total 5,510, standing at 0.2 percent.

These stricter vegetarians can further be classified based on whether they consume dairy products and/or eggs. The most restrictive ones -- vegans -- avoid both dairy and eggs, and consume solely plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. Only two respondents claimed to be vegan.

The report notes that veganism in Korea is more confined to dietary terms than the far-reaching notion of lifestyle prevalent in Western countries, where veganism encompasses clothes, makeup and other facets of life.

“Since traditional Korean cuisine is centered more around rice and veggie side dishes than the Western style grilled steak, we need to be careful about defining vegetarianism based on occidental dietary sensibilities,“ the report said.

By Ahn Ju-hee (