Natural Health Goals Spur Vegetarian Growth

Articles
September 13, 2010

Natural Health Goals Spur Vegetarian Growth

Whether it’s the popularity of farmers markets, an offshoot of recessionary spending, or a cultural movement, vegetarian cuisine is in vogue.

Whether it’s the popularity of farmers markets, an offshoot of recessionary spending, or a cultural movement, vegetarian cuisine is in vogue.

Even celebrity chef Mario Batali, know for his love of meat (his parents Armandino and Marilyn Batali founded the fabulous Seattle-based Salumi Artisan Cured Meats), is on the vegetable wagon recently announcing that the newest cookbook he’s penned – Molto Gusto - is vegetarian. Batali was recently quoted in Food & Wine saying, "Protein has been intensely over-represented on the plate. Now, the garden should be the main drag for main courses."

Batali’s book is based on recipes from Otto, his Manhattan enoteca and pizzeria, where vegetables dominate the menu. Other fabulous vegetarian restaurants have come into vogue recently across the country from Manhattan’s Dirt Candy to Napa’s Ubuntu. This new generation of sleek, modern restaurants offering meat-free fine food is changing the face of vegetarian food.

Vegetarianism in the U.S. has been slowly creeping up in numbers over the past decade. A 2008 study “Vegetarianism in America” study, published by Vegetarian Times noted that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. The Vegetarian Resource Group’s (VRG) 2009 poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 3.4 percent of the U.S. adult population was vegetarian, up from 2.8 percent in 2003. VRG notes that manufacturers and retailers marketing vegetarian and vegan foods should also look at the much larger number of people interested in these items, as well as those actually vegetarian. With 5% of females 18-34 being vegetarian, and 12% of females ages 18–34 not eating meat, this makes a strong argument to developing products for this demographic.

New technologies have also been introduced for consumers interested in vegging out, HappyCow, an online repository of vegetarian and vegan stores and eateries, has useful mobile apps for owners of Android and Apple devices, as well as those running Palm’s WebOS. The HappyCow VeginOut Guide uses GPS to deliver a list of vegetarian and vegan-friendly stores and restaurants nearby, along with the distance, and user reviews. On iPhone, the app is called VegOut, which at this time only includes restaurants.

Click here for more information on the health aspects of a vegetarian diet.