Going Green: Uncovering The Benefits of Vegetarianism
Everybody’s doing it, kids. Green is the new black.
Companies are incorporating environmental conservation into their values. The innovation of solar and hybrid power brings endless possibilities.
The world is shifting, and there is a movement growing towards becoming more socially and environmentally conscious. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that vegetarianism is the new mainstream of food.
Eating vegetarian or vegan is made easier than ever. Specialized products have expanded from natural food stores to supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. We commonly see symbols and asterisks on menus to denote the vegetarian and vegan options available. It’s a reflection of consumer trends toward leading a healthier, more ethical lifestyle.
There are different types of vegetarians. Vegans eat no animal and any bi-products including eggs, dairy and honey. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat no meat, seafood or poultry, but do eat eggs and dairy. Pescatarians are as above, with the exception of eating fish. Flexitarians, who are not vegetarians, per se, are concerned with healthy eating and the majority of their meals are meat-free.
The market for vegetarian alternatives is at its strongest. People are constantly on the look out for products that are safe for them to eat. As a result, a sense of community exists between these consumers. They are every company’s dream grapevine, frequently exchanging information about products, businesses and outlets that align with their values. According to senior editor at VegPage.com, Adam Kochanowicz, “Vegans and vegetarians are some of the most loyal customers on the planet.” Therefore, if a company can create a sustainable selection of products or meal options that satisfy this particular consumer group, the pay off is unprecedented.
Lets take a look at a few places that are doing it right:
- Grill’d – has an extensive range of vegetarian and vegan burger options. There is something for everyone – from delicious veggie patties to falafels galore, this takes their mission of healthy burgers to escalated heights.
- Mantra Lounge – rotates a seasonal menu of sweet and savoury vegan dishes. Fair warning: given its strategic location on campus, you may be swayed to skip your next class.
- The Vegie Bar – is the only place to go if you ever find yourself stuck in Fitzroy. This popular haunt is about wholesome, contemporary vegetarian cooking and it reminds us that food is for the mind, body and soul.
- IKEA – when in the situation of wanting meat-free alternatives and furniture at the same time, you can head straight to the café for some vegan-friendly Swedish meatballs, potato chips or rhubarb and raspberry crumble. Win-win.
- Serotonin – integrates a nourishing eatery with an exercise centre. A sanctuary in Burnley that serves only GOOD-itives, providing food that keeps our mood and gut happy is a mission of Serotonin.
“Vegetarians love food!” says Joel Bartlett, Assistant Director of Marketing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The fabric that links these consumers together is an interest in health, the environment and most importantly, animal welfare. The ‘Caring Consumer’ section of PETA.org is extremely popular amongst consumers interested in the companies that cater for vegan and vegetarian preferences, but more broadly, those who do and don’t test products on animals.
PETA has a strong history of success of influencing the minds of consumers through the power of viral videos. Alicia Silverstone’s controversial vegetarian testimonial brought the website more traffic in one day (150 000 hits) than ever before.
Vegetarianism is a hot commodity on the market, which can be traded, promoted and even celebrity-endorsed. The public service announcement lures viewers with sexual overtones you would expect from a Versace advertisement. However, the true message is immensely powerful – standing against animal cruelty.
Are vegetarians healthier than their meat-eating counterparts?
Possibly. A common view held by doctors such as epidemiologist Camille Lassale of the Imperial College of London’s School of Public Health, is that a pro-vegetarian diet can lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular failure by 20 per cent.
“ Make sure you finish your vegetables” is always in the back of our heads due to our parents’ nagging. Doing otherwise usually results in no dessert (not cool). In particular, cutting down on processed meats that are high in saturated fat lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent against heart disease.
Food is about choice. It’s about what’s delicious and if the trend continues, what’s good for you. It seems as if more corporations are picking up on the idea that vegetarian and vegan market has infinite potential to grow. We may not all be soy latte drinkers or quinoa salad eaters. However, there is an option of leading a fitter, better lifestyle.