Are you eating less meat today than you were 5 or 10 years ago? Can you imagine yourself a full time vegetarian? Or vegan?
These questions would seem outlandish only a few years ago, but it turns out that there is a major shift in consumer sentiment and the food industry should take notice. According to Mintel, a consumer market research firm, 7% of Americans call themselves vegetarians, but over one third eat meat alternatives!
In fact, about 30% of people surveyed by Mintel said they are trying to reduce their meat intake. The reasons are varied, but health concerns top the list. It probably helps that plant based diets are no longer associated with off the grid hippies. Rapper Jay Z recently announced he’s going on a vegan diet.
Food companies are responding with an ever growing selection of plant based choices for consumers. The sector has grown to over half a billion dollars in revenue in 2012. As usual, some of the foods are full of chemicals and preservatives, which defeats the purpose if your intent is to be healthier.
If you are interested in reducing your meat consumption – get yourself acquainted with lentils and beans. Start consuming nuts and seeds daily. Buy a block of tofu or seitan and see what you can do with it. You don’t need to completely stop eating meat, but for most people who have reduced their consumption, the health results quickly followed.
Will you be eating less meat next year? What is your go-to vegetarian dish?