A new study by researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph estimates more than six million Canadians have partially or completely cut meat out of their diets and more could soon do the same.

The online survey of 1027 participants conducted over a three-day period last month found 32 per cent of respondents are considering reducing their meat consumption over the next six months. However, the majority of respondents strongly or somewhat agree they are big fans of meat.

According to the study, health, animal welfare, the environment and taste appear to be major factors contributing to the shift away from meat.

“More and more Canadians are considering reducing the amount of protein from meat in their diets,” said Dalhousie University Faculty of Management professor Sylvain Charlebois in a news release. “Canada’s new food guide will be released in the months to come, and advances in technology have given consumers more protein choices.”

“We wanted to learn more about what Canadians think about eating meat and plant-based alternatives, and how willing they are to reduce their meat consumption and consider new types of proteins.”

Among those surveyed, 48.5 per cent of said they consume meat or products that include meat daily, 40.1 per cent said they eat it once or twice a week, 6.3 percent have meat once or twice a month, 2.6 per cent of respondents said they eat meat less than once a month and 2.2 per cent said they never eat meat.

Charlebois said Canadians consumed 94 million fewer kilograms of meat in 2017 than they did in 2010.

While meat consumption has been falling in Canada he said worldwide demand for meat has gone up.

The survey also found 63 per cent of vegans in Canada are under age 38.

The estimated margin of error was given as plus or minus three percent, 19 times out of 20.