Natural Substances – Vegan and Vegetarian Foods Are Super Hot
One-third of the US population is actively trying to reduce their meat and dairy consumption1, the meatless Monday movement is an international trend, and the global milk substitute market is projected to expand by over 50% by 20252. More people than ever are experimenting with plant-based meals that are better for their health and the environment.
In this blog post, we unpack the new ways young consumers are approaching plant-based eating without the restrictive nature of traditional vegetarian or vegan diets.
Flexitarianism – The Newest Diet for Sustainable Eating
The term flexitarian emerged around 19983 and refers to a person who follows a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional meal of meat or fish. According to a 2019 study, 29% of people buying plant-based foods in the US could be classified as flexitarians4.
Flexitarianism, also known as part-term vegetarianism, is gaining international attention as a sustainable dietary approach to combat climate change. The United Nations even recommends flexitarianism to reduce your meat and dairy consumption, lowering your environmental impact to help combat the climate crisis5.
Ocean Flexitarianism and Adding Algae to Your Diet
Ocean flexitarianism is another emerging sect of flexitarianism that focuses on foods and flavors of the sea. Ocean flexitarians aim to consume more aquatic plants and algae than fish.
There is growing interest in the untapped potential of aquatic plants as nutritious, sustainable additions to the Western diet. Humans have consumed microalgae, such as nori or wakame, for thousands of years, and it is a typical component of many Eastern diets. Microalgae is fast-growing, takes up little space, and captures atmospheric carbon dioxide more efficiently than most food crops
With proper cultivation, this green ocean vegetable could be the latest sustainable addition to flexitarians’’ plates in the near future.
What do Nutritionists Have To Say About Flexible Plant-Based Diets?
Many nutritionists support flexitarian diets as a healthy lifestyle preference that helps you consume the nutrients your body needs in healthy quantities.
Flexitarians often enjoy similar benefits to vegans and vegetarians. All three plant-based diets reduce your cholesterol and saturated fats consumption connected to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. While many vegans struggle to hit their recommended intake of various micro-nutrients, such as vitamin B12, calcium, and iron6, flexitarians can easily incorporate these nutrients into their diets through animal products.
Flexitarian, vegetarian, or even vegan diets are not always healthier than typical omnivorous eating with the rise of plant-based junk food. Choosing processed foods that contain natural additives and organic flavorings may be a healthier option regardless of your dietary preferences.
Trending Vegan and Vegetarian Food and Flavors for 2022
As eating plants for your main meal becomes more mainstream, exciting new recipes for plant-based products will emerge. Here are some of the top vegetarian flavor trends expected for 2022:
- Plant-based seafood: Soon you may be able to enjoy classic seafood flavors, such as tuna or salmon, in their plant-based form in your typical sushi dish.
- Oats will likely overtake the non-dairy milk industry with new creamy oat-based products paired with almond, vanilla, and other sweet favorites.
- You may even find mushroom flavors in teas and juices this year after the recent buzz surrounding their stress-relieving properties and health benefits.
The preference for plants as a food source has been steadily growing over the past few decades. Many modern consumers are finding new ways to incorporate plant-based meals into their diets without the restrictions of traditional vegetarianism. Part-time vegetarian eating, or flexitarianism, may be the answer to the international need for a switch to sustainable eating.
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