With sustainability being the one of the key macro trends for the future, the way we eat has again come under the spotlight. The internet has allowed us to more easily educate ourselves about the ethical, health and environmental benefits of eating less meat. Nutritionists, personal trainers and wellbeing experts have become our new heroes and with this rise we have seen a substantial increase in people opting to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Here are some pretty interesting statistics, over the last 25 years the number of vegetarians has doubled, they equal approximately 12% of Britains population. What’s even more interesting is that one in five 16-24 year olds are now vegetarian. So how does the consumption of animal products affect us and the environment around us? From a health point of view you have a 16% increased cancer risk and a 21% increased risk of heart disease if you consume meat. Livestock production is responsible for 70% of the deforestation in the amazon, as it was cleared to create pastures for rearing of cattle. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat and only 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat (“Water Inputs in California Food Production” by Marcia Kreith). With the threat of half of the world’s population facing water shortage by 2030 these are scary statistics.
Deliciously Ella has had a fantastic effect on this industry. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this will know who she is, own one of her 2 books or have tasted one of her recipes. Not only has she increased the awareness of a plant based diet and all the health benefits that come with it but she has shown us how achievable it is to follow this lifestyle. With the alternative protein market is set to be worth $5.2 billion by 2020 (JWT Intelligence) it will become even more readily available. Companies such as Heck, which are family run UK based burgers and sausage company based in Yorkshire, have developed a range of products which replace meat with quinoa, kale and chia seeds. They were traditionally a sausage manufacturer but they developed a new range of products after they could see the potential in this market. Pret a Manger recently opened there pop shop in Soho London after seeing how the vegetarian options had increased in sales. They asked over 10,000 customers on social media to vote on a series of new products to improve their vegetarian offer. Interestingly they saw a 26% rise in products containing avocado. One food trend that I will be approaching with caution is the increase of insects creeping into mainstream food. Books such as Eat, Grub and Insect Cookbook and also the Grub Kitchen in Wales have been few of the pioneers.
The question is how far will you be willing to take this to help preserve our planet. I for one would be interested to see how 3D printed meat develops. At the moment it costs approximately £200 to produce a 3D printed burger but the price will decrease as the technology advances. However, natural organic ingredients have been a focus within the food industry for years so I do think it could be quite sometime before this is widely accepted. So vegans, no longer just Birkenstock wearing hippies, turns out we all are decreasing the amount of meat we eat in fact 29% of the UK say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat in the past 12 months.