A recent report showed Pakistan to be the second-fastest growing vegetarian country in the world. Analysts say high inflation is impacting the food patterns of many Pakistanis, compelling them to give up eating meat.
Raja Ayub, a restaurateur in Islamabad, walks to a nearby shop every morning to buy vegetables for his restaurant. The 55-year old has been running the eatery for the past 10 years, but a new trend gaining popularity among Pakistanis is causing him concern – vegetarianism.
Many people in Pakistan are turning to a vegetarian diet for a range of reasons – the most obvious being rising prices of meat and growing poverty, as the economic activity in the South Asian country of 208 million people slows down.
The trend has Ayub both perturbed and anxious and has led him to change the meals offered at his restaurant.
“I don’t know what happened to the Pakistanis. The transition in their dietary habits has forced a change in the menu of my restaurant,” he told DW as he bought vegetables. “Their consumption of meat has significantly fallen and has already reached a new low.”
But Ayub has some ideas as to what’s behind the sudden change in the food demands of Pakistanis, who are usually known to be keen meat eaters.
He thinks that people might actually be concerned about their health and no longer prefer to have meat in their diet, or that they can no longer afford meat due to their shrinking wallets and earnings – a noticeable trend in the wake of a slump in financial activity and rising inflation.