Today’s modern world contains a plethora of different ways for people to live. Diets and dietary preferences are a vital part of this and they’re what helps make us all unique as individuals. Terms like pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, paleo are increasingly common and pretty well known. They’re used to describe various lifestyles – based on what food is consumed. But the biggest and most versatile dietary preference of them all? Flexitarian, of course.
There are now so many flexitarians, many don’t even realise they are one! The term is used to describe individuals who don’t consume meat with every meal, instead choosing options with more fruit and veg, legumes and pulses. Think of the diet as being a bit of meat and a lot of veg.
Whilst historically this type of diet was adopted by those with strong views on animal welfare, societal pressures and influences have been changing the general concept. It has now become more about the potential health and environmental benefits to be gained from leading a lifestyle with less emphasis on meat and dairy.
The health benefits of being flexitarian include
But there are many other benefits too with a significantly smaller impact on the environment capturing headlines. The impact of meat production on the environment is getting cut-through with sustainably minded consumers and meat-free meals are on the rise.
Meat-free menu options that once felt like an afterthought are expanding and evolving as operators respond to the demand. The days of bland, uninspiring vegetarian meals are long gone, and many meat eaters now opt for meat-free menu options on the menu by choice – from cauliflower steaks and plant-based protein options to pizza crust made with cauliflower & butternut squash and bread fortified with beetroot & carrot. Not to mention the proliferation of vegan, plant-based restaurants, cafes, sweeping the globe and reforming the food offer market.
At the start of 2019, two thirds (67%) of respondents to CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey tipped veganism as a key trend to follow—and halfway through the year, interest shows no sign of slowing. Technology is fuelling the evolution of the trend, through new foods like plant-based ‘pork’ Omnipork, a seaweed-based shrimp alternative from New Wave and algae-based Omega 3 supplements from Simris.
People working in food procurement know they need to keep ahead of trends for the future. Offering inspiring menu options and plant-based foods offers a versatile way to do this, providing a better food offer to individuals who have made a conscious decision to lower or stop their intake of meat and animal products.