According to a new survey by Eurispes, 7 million Italians (a full 12% of the population) identify as vegetarians, up from just 1.5 million in 2000. Based on projections, by 2050 Italy will host 30 million vegetarians.
Of these 7 million meatless citizen, a full 600,000 are vegan (meaning they abstain from eggs and dairy as well).
This upswing in vegetarianism has been related to a variety of personal motivators, from ethical and religious reasons to diet choices based on philosophy and health concerns.
The average Italian consumes 92 kilograms of meat per year, but the growing trend towards vegetarianism is leading to leaner consumers. On average, vegetarians weigh 10% less than their meat eating peers.
Italians can choose from an incredible variety of traditional dishes which are de facto "vegetarian", soups, risotti, pasta dishes and all sorts of great vegetable or fish based recipes, like this simple Freselle Bread Tomato Salad.