Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
India

NFHS-5 data busts right-wing myth of Indian vegetarianism

Non-vegetarianism growing in Gujarat, over 50 percent of MP's population eats non-veg food

Sabrangindia 21 May 2022

NFHS
Image Courtesy:cntraveller.in

Non-vegetarian food consumers have increased in India, including in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, as per data released by the recent National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5).

This is significant because right-wing supremacists have been peddling the fase narrative that non-vegetarians are a small minority in India. In fact, it is based on this false narrative that state administrations have attempted to remove eggs from mid-day meal plans, and non-veg food vendors from the streets. However, latest health data shows that more people are joining an already significant non-vegetarian population.

Groups across India were surveyed from 2019 to 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, compared to the 10-year gap between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4, the recent report was published only after a gap of five years.

More meat-lovers in Gujarat

As per the data, non-veg eaters in BJP-led Gujarat increased by at least seven percentage points over five years. As many as 39 percent of 33,343 surveyed women and 51 percent of 4,957 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. These percentages are higher than the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) when 30.8 percent of 22,932 surveyed women and 43.5 percent of 5,567 surveyed men said they consumed non-veg.

Moreover, by 2019-21, 2.4 percent women (around 800 people) and 2.1 percent men (104 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 17.8 percent women (5,935 people) and 18.5 percent men (917 people) ate the food weekly, while 18.6 percent women (6,208 people) and 30.3 percent men (1,502 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg consumption, 37.9 percent women (12,637 people) and 52.1 percent men (2,583 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs - be it daily, weekly or occasionally. Again, this is more than the 2015-16 data that said 31.2 percent women (7,155 people) and 46.3 percent men (2,578 people) eat eggs.

In November 2021, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) tried to ban the sale of non-veg food on city streets. Other cities like Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Rajkot also tried to ban the sale of these ready-to-eat items. Officials claimed that non-vegetarian food on streets creates a health hazard because such food is “unhygienic and harmful to the environment”. However, the Gujarat High Court came down heavily upon the AMC for taking such actions against street vendors challenging its authority from curbing people’s right to eat.

Maharashtra’s non-vegetarians continue to grow in number

Maharashtra too showed a gradual increase in the number of non-veg eaters. After surveying 33,755 women and 5,048 men, the NFHS-5 data said that 71.8 percent women and 83.2 percent men confirmed consuming meat by 2019-21. The NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed around 70 percent of 29,460 surveyed women and 81.9 percent of 4,497 surveyed men consumed non-veg. This shows that in a state where non-veg consumers are already in the majority, popularity for the food only continues to grow.

By 2019-21, 3.7 percent women (1,249 people) and 5.5 percent men (278 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 41.6 percent women (14,042 people) and 53.8 percent men (2,716 people) ate the food weekly, while 26.5 percent women (8,945 people) and 23.9 percent men (1,206 people) ate it occasionally.

Over half of MP eats non-veg food

In Madhya Pradesh, 53.6 percent of 48,410 surveyed women and 66 percent of 6,503 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. Whereas, the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed 51.7 percent of 62,803 surveyed women and 68.6 percent of 9,510 surveyed men consumed non-veg. As is apparent, there is a glaring difference in the sample size for the two surveys. Thus, while the latest data may be nominal non-veg eaters account for over half the population.

The NFHS-5 report shows that at least 0.6 percent women (290 people) and 1.6 percent men (104 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 14.3 percent women (6,923 people) and 23.7 percent men (1,541 people) ate the food weekly, while 27.2 percent women (13,168 people) and 35.3 percent men (2,296 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg, 47.7 percent women (23,092 people) and 65.6 percent men (4,266 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 47.4 percent women (29,768 people) and 65.9 percent men (6,267 people) consumed eggs in 2015-16.

Egg consumption remains a controversial topic in MP, as the majority claims to have a largely vegetarian cuisine. The issue extends to mid-day meal plans offered to children from families, who struggle to provide food for their off-springs. Many nutritional experts have pushed the inclusion of eggs in the plan for proper-development of children, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

UP not far behind

Despite a five-year difference, Uttar Pradesh reported relatively static progression in terms of non-vegetarian consumption. As per the report, 53.6 percent of 93,124 surveyed women and 66 percent of 11,157 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. Meanwhile, the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed 51.7 percent of 97,661 surveyed women and 68.6 percent of 12,946 surveyed men consumed non-veg.

Latest data said that 0.8 percent women (745 people) and 2.2 percent men (245 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 19 percent women (17,694 people) and 28 percent men (3,124 people) ate the food weekly while 33.8 percent women (31,476 people) and 35.8 percent men (3,994 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg, 59.6 percent women (55,502 people) and 73.8 percent men (8,234 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 56.2 percent women (54,885 people) and 74.5 percent men (9,645 people) ate eggs in 2015-16.

Concerns persist in Karnataka

The NFHS-5 data for the southern state accounted for 2019-20 alone. It said that 77.6 percent of 30,455 surveyed women and 85.4 percent of 4,120 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. This is lower than the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) that showed 80.3 percent of 26,291 surveyed women and 86.5 percent of 3,743 surveyed men.

Recently, members of the Lingayat community demanded that the state government serve “pure vegetarian” meals in government schools. However, the children were the first to reject this and said they want the boiled eggs three times a week. Still, around December 2021 the government began to ‘explore’ alternatives to boiled eggs in mid-day meal plans.

In terms of egg-intake, 82.2 percent women (25,034 people) and 89.6 percent men (3,692 people) in 2019-20 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 82.9 percent women (21,795 people) and 90.1 percent men (3,372 people) ate eggs in 2015-16.

As for fish, chicken and other non-veg items, 5.5 percent women (1,675 people) and 7.3 percent men (301 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed the food daily. Another 52.2 percent women (15,898 people) and 52.8 percent men (2,175 people) ate the food weekly, while 19.9 percent women (6,061 people) and 25.3 percent men (1,042 people) ate it occasionally.

The data may be viewed here:

http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-5_State_Report.shtml

http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-4Report.shtml

An Indian Express analysis report recently looked at NFHS-5’s nationwide data and said that there’s a 5-percentage-point drop in the proportion of men aged 15-49 years who have never consumed non-vegetarian food. The data stood at 16.6 percent men in 2019-21 and 21.6 percent men in NFHS-4. However, the proportion of women in the same age group remained relatively stable between 29.4 percent women in 2019-21 and 29.9 percent women of 2015-16.

Related:

Meat sale banned in Ghaziabad, demands brew for a repeat in MP
Allahabad HC bats for tolerance, but refuses to strike down meat and liquor sale ban
Understanding the layers of “hate” in Gujarat’s non-veg ban
Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

NFHS-5 data busts right-wing myth of Indian vegetarianism

Non-vegetarianism growing in Gujarat, over 50 percent of MP's population eats non-veg food

NFHS
Image Courtesy:cntraveller.in

Non-vegetarian food consumers have increased in India, including in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, as per data released by the recent National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5).

This is significant because right-wing supremacists have been peddling the fase narrative that non-vegetarians are a small minority in India. In fact, it is based on this false narrative that state administrations have attempted to remove eggs from mid-day meal plans, and non-veg food vendors from the streets. However, latest health data shows that more people are joining an already significant non-vegetarian population.

Groups across India were surveyed from 2019 to 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, compared to the 10-year gap between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4, the recent report was published only after a gap of five years.

More meat-lovers in Gujarat

As per the data, non-veg eaters in BJP-led Gujarat increased by at least seven percentage points over five years. As many as 39 percent of 33,343 surveyed women and 51 percent of 4,957 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. These percentages are higher than the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) when 30.8 percent of 22,932 surveyed women and 43.5 percent of 5,567 surveyed men said they consumed non-veg.

Moreover, by 2019-21, 2.4 percent women (around 800 people) and 2.1 percent men (104 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 17.8 percent women (5,935 people) and 18.5 percent men (917 people) ate the food weekly, while 18.6 percent women (6,208 people) and 30.3 percent men (1,502 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg consumption, 37.9 percent women (12,637 people) and 52.1 percent men (2,583 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs - be it daily, weekly or occasionally. Again, this is more than the 2015-16 data that said 31.2 percent women (7,155 people) and 46.3 percent men (2,578 people) eat eggs.

In November 2021, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) tried to ban the sale of non-veg food on city streets. Other cities like Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Rajkot also tried to ban the sale of these ready-to-eat items. Officials claimed that non-vegetarian food on streets creates a health hazard because such food is “unhygienic and harmful to the environment”. However, the Gujarat High Court came down heavily upon the AMC for taking such actions against street vendors challenging its authority from curbing people’s right to eat.

Maharashtra’s non-vegetarians continue to grow in number

Maharashtra too showed a gradual increase in the number of non-veg eaters. After surveying 33,755 women and 5,048 men, the NFHS-5 data said that 71.8 percent women and 83.2 percent men confirmed consuming meat by 2019-21. The NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed around 70 percent of 29,460 surveyed women and 81.9 percent of 4,497 surveyed men consumed non-veg. This shows that in a state where non-veg consumers are already in the majority, popularity for the food only continues to grow.

By 2019-21, 3.7 percent women (1,249 people) and 5.5 percent men (278 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 41.6 percent women (14,042 people) and 53.8 percent men (2,716 people) ate the food weekly, while 26.5 percent women (8,945 people) and 23.9 percent men (1,206 people) ate it occasionally.

Over half of MP eats non-veg food

In Madhya Pradesh, 53.6 percent of 48,410 surveyed women and 66 percent of 6,503 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. Whereas, the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed 51.7 percent of 62,803 surveyed women and 68.6 percent of 9,510 surveyed men consumed non-veg. As is apparent, there is a glaring difference in the sample size for the two surveys. Thus, while the latest data may be nominal non-veg eaters account for over half the population.

The NFHS-5 report shows that at least 0.6 percent women (290 people) and 1.6 percent men (104 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 14.3 percent women (6,923 people) and 23.7 percent men (1,541 people) ate the food weekly, while 27.2 percent women (13,168 people) and 35.3 percent men (2,296 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg, 47.7 percent women (23,092 people) and 65.6 percent men (4,266 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 47.4 percent women (29,768 people) and 65.9 percent men (6,267 people) consumed eggs in 2015-16.

Egg consumption remains a controversial topic in MP, as the majority claims to have a largely vegetarian cuisine. The issue extends to mid-day meal plans offered to children from families, who struggle to provide food for their off-springs. Many nutritional experts have pushed the inclusion of eggs in the plan for proper-development of children, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

UP not far behind

Despite a five-year difference, Uttar Pradesh reported relatively static progression in terms of non-vegetarian consumption. As per the report, 53.6 percent of 93,124 surveyed women and 66 percent of 11,157 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. Meanwhile, the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) showed 51.7 percent of 97,661 surveyed women and 68.6 percent of 12,946 surveyed men consumed non-veg.

Latest data said that 0.8 percent women (745 people) and 2.2 percent men (245 people) consumed such non-vegetarian food daily. Another 19 percent women (17,694 people) and 28 percent men (3,124 people) ate the food weekly while 33.8 percent women (31,476 people) and 35.8 percent men (3,994 people) ate it occasionally.

In terms of egg, 59.6 percent women (55,502 people) and 73.8 percent men (8,234 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 56.2 percent women (54,885 people) and 74.5 percent men (9,645 people) ate eggs in 2015-16.

Concerns persist in Karnataka

The NFHS-5 data for the southern state accounted for 2019-20 alone. It said that 77.6 percent of 30,455 surveyed women and 85.4 percent of 4,120 surveyed men confirmed eating fish or chicken or similar meat. This is lower than the NFHS-4 data (2015-16) that showed 80.3 percent of 26,291 surveyed women and 86.5 percent of 3,743 surveyed men.

Recently, members of the Lingayat community demanded that the state government serve “pure vegetarian” meals in government schools. However, the children were the first to reject this and said they want the boiled eggs three times a week. Still, around December 2021 the government began to ‘explore’ alternatives to boiled eggs in mid-day meal plans.

In terms of egg-intake, 82.2 percent women (25,034 people) and 89.6 percent men (3,692 people) in 2019-20 said they consumed eggs be it daily, weekly or occasionally. This is relatively the same as NFHS-4 data when 82.9 percent women (21,795 people) and 90.1 percent men (3,372 people) ate eggs in 2015-16.

As for fish, chicken and other non-veg items, 5.5 percent women (1,675 people) and 7.3 percent men (301 people) in 2019-21 said they consumed the food daily. Another 52.2 percent women (15,898 people) and 52.8 percent men (2,175 people) ate the food weekly, while 19.9 percent women (6,061 people) and 25.3 percent men (1,042 people) ate it occasionally.

The data may be viewed here:

http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-5_State_Report.shtml

http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-4Report.shtml

An Indian Express analysis report recently looked at NFHS-5’s nationwide data and said that there’s a 5-percentage-point drop in the proportion of men aged 15-49 years who have never consumed non-vegetarian food. The data stood at 16.6 percent men in 2019-21 and 21.6 percent men in NFHS-4. However, the proportion of women in the same age group remained relatively stable between 29.4 percent women in 2019-21 and 29.9 percent women of 2015-16.

Related:

Meat sale banned in Ghaziabad, demands brew for a repeat in MP
Allahabad HC bats for tolerance, but refuses to strike down meat and liquor sale ban
Understanding the layers of “hate” in Gujarat’s non-veg ban
Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Communalism

Hate, Arms, Shrine Takeovers: Is Hindutva extremism at its peak in Karnataka?

WATCH: In this SabrangIndia Exclusive show called 'Column 9', journalist & activist Shivasundar talks about the journey of Hindutva Extremism, from fringe groups to the center, in Karnataka, which is arguably empowered and emboldened by the legislative and judiciary, simultaneously.

Communalism

Hate, Arms, Shrine Takeovers: Is Hindutva extremism at its peak in Karnataka?

WATCH: In this SabrangIndia Exclusive show called 'Column 9', journalist & activist Shivasundar talks about the journey of Hindutva Extremism, from fringe groups to the center, in Karnataka, which is arguably empowered and emboldened by the legislative and judiciary, simultaneously.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives