NORTH Oxford is becoming more and more vegetarian, a new report suggests.

Nearly half of people surveyed in the area said they were reducing the amount of meat they eat for health or environmental reasons.

Health was also given as the top priority for making food choices generally, while time was given as the biggest barrier to eating healthily and sustainably.

The survey of 100 people in north Oxford was carried out by sustainability campaign Good Food Oxford and community group Low Carbon North Oxford.

One of those who responded was Florence Waters, of Jericho, who won a hamper of local food for her efforts featuring such delights as Italian kale, sloe gin salami and raw sheep's milk cheese, all provided by 2 North Parade produce store.

Miss Waters, who works for Modern Baker in Banbury Road, is not a vegetarian, but said she and others she knew were increasingly eating meat-free meals for health and environmental reasons.

The 31-year-old said: "It is hard but it can be done.

"I'm discovering a lot of amazing recipes using chick peas and other meat alternatives. It can be really exciting."

Miss Waters also said she tried to eat as much local produce as possible.

She added: "Where you can afford it, do it – that's my motto.

"Is isn't always easy but it is getting easier with local farmers' markets and Cultivate which I use."

Cultivate is a local food co-operative, based at Little Wittenham, which sells fruit, vegetables, eggs and baked goods from Oxfordshire producers.

Other findings which came out of the food survey included the discovery that north Oxford residents seem to recycle slightly more food waste than the Oxford average and think it is important not to waste food.

Respondents said it was important to eat local and seasonal food, but many found it harder to eat healthily and sustainably when sharing meals with friends or family.

Good Food Oxford will now use the survey findings to shape a campaign in the New Year encouraging north Oxford residents eat for 'health, happiness and sustainability'.

The campaign will work with schools, restaurants and chefs to bring the best food ideas to the people of North Oxford.

Group member Hannah Jacobs said: "Food is so important to our lives and is at the heart of many of the UK’s biggest social, economic and environmental challenges, from obesity to poverty to climate change.

"In our survey we found that health and sustainability are important to people’s food choices – people think it’s important not to waste food and nearly half of people are cutting back on meat for health and environmental reasons.

"Luckily, food that’s good for our planet is also good for our bodies and taste buds so we’re working to make it easy and tasty for people to eat for health, happiness and sustainability."