Earlier this year, we told you about Tropical Smoothie adding Beyond Meat to its menus nationwide. A few weeks ago, we also announced that Subway introduced a new falafel sandwich at select restaurants in the DC-area. And last week, we shared exciting updates that Chipotle is now dishing out meat-free pinto beans nationwide. and its popular vegan sofrita just became available on the East Coast.
Veg-friendly options are sprouting up on menus from coast to coast, and one of the leading foodservice industry trade publications – Nation’s Restaurant News – is not only paying attention; it’s bringing this issue to its readers front and center.
The Oct 21 issue of this bi-weekly publication features a cover story highlighting the “Broadening Appeal” of meat-free dishes, which “prove popular with vegetarians and omnivores alike.”
Chefs are seeing “customers take a shine to vegetarian dishes.” According to the article, the “occurrence of vegetarian dishes on restaurant menus was up 22 percent between January and March 2013” compared to the same time period in 2012. And it’s not just larger chains. Smaller chains and independent eateries are also “pushing the limits of vegetarian fare.”
What can be attributed to this increasing availability of meat-free options? The article suggests “the shift comes amid a growing interest in health, the introduction of social campaigns such as Meatless Monday, and the mainstreaming of traditional vegetarian and vegan products.”
This tremendously positive coverage of the rise in meatless dining by an influential foodservice industry magazine offers yet another powerful example that vegan eating is shifting from the margins to the mainstream.
And it’s not the first time Nation’s Restaurant News has featured vegetarian cuisine on its cover. In June 2011, a ground-breaking cover story — “Meatless Menus”— highlights the increasing popularity and success of all-vegetarian eateries across the US, noting that a growing number of restaurants and food service providers are “convinced there is a broad audience ready to embrace plant-based dining.”