NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS recently listed “adding vegetarian and vegan options” as number nine in its list of the top 50 ways to improve business. This suggestion makes sense, considering recent trends toward vegetarian eating. For example:
- The National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2010” survey found that the majority of chefs list vegetarian entrees as a “Hot Trend” and 25% list them as a “Perennial Favorite.”
- A 2011 study found that 50% of Americans are aware of the ‘Meatless Mondays’ movement, and research funded by the American Meat Institute found that 18% of Americans participate in Meatless Mondays.
- All Baltimore public schools only serve vegetarian food on Mondays, and San Francisco and the District of Columbia have passed city-wide resolutions encouraging residents to partake in “Meatless Mondays.”
- In 2011, Oprah devoted an episode to encouraging people to eat vegan meals. Her website now offers a vegan starter kit.
- A 2010 Associated Press article (“Vegan Diets Becoming More Popular, More Mainstream”) chronicled the rise in meat-free eating, including the vegan diets of popular figures ranging from President Bill Clinton to Mike Tyson.
- In 2009, three vegan cookbooks—The Engine 2 Diet, The Conscious Cook, and The Kind Diet—made The New York Times bestsellers list. The Conscious Cook reached the #1 best-seller spot on Amazon.com.
- Environmental organizations like the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense and Natural Resources Defense Council encourage Americans to eat less meat. And Al Gore has publicly stated he has “cut back sharply” on the amount of meat he eats, and encouraged others to follow suit.
- Martha Stewart’s 2009 Thanksgiving was vegetarian.