Interesting article in the Independent (Sunday 12 July 2009) on the new green cuisine which is tapping into the rise of the “flexitarian”, the occasional vegetarian who is helping their waistline and the planet by eating less meat. Vegetarian food is no longer the preserve of a small minority ie those who use only wholemeal toilet rolls and knit their own yogurt but is hitting the mainstream. A recent poll for the Food Development Association showed that 86 per cent of Brits eat non-meat meals once or twice a week, forcing restaurants to follow suit.
A new crop of vegetarian restaurants is springing up, catering to rising demand for meat-free dining options. Even established restaurateurs are considering axing meat and or increasing the number of meat-free choices on their menus to cash in on the new trend. There is no shortage of high-profile figures like Sir Paul McCartney banging the vegetarian drum. This is boosting sales of meat-free foods in supermarkets as shoppers swap minced meat for substitutes such as Quorn. The meat-free market was worth £739m last year, up by a fifth in the last five years and is forecast to enjoy similar growth until at least 2013, according to research by Mintel.
Historically, chefs haven’t liked vegetarians but that is changing as consumers want to cut out meat to help slow down climate change (livestock production pumps more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than transportation) and the industry must respond to this changing demand. Richard Harden, who owns the Harden’s restaurant guide, said specialist vegetarian eateries are “growing in popularity” as more people are happy to forgo meat for at least one meal.
So flexitarian is the way forward and now it’s time for me to tuck in to my meat free lunch with enthusiasm and gusto and do my tiny bit for the environment.
Jellybean Creative Solutions 2009.
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