EAT YOUR VEG­ETA­BLES

PLANT-BASED CUI­SINE IS THE FU­TURE OF FOOD, AS THESE SEVEN SIGNS PROVE

F&B World - - SPECIAL FEATURE - Text by AN­GELO COM­STI Pho­tos by PAT MA­TEO Special thanks to CHEFS EDGAR DAVAC and MEL AVINO of THE BELLE­VUE MANILA

De­plet­ing re­sources, health con­cerns, and con­sid­er­a­tion for an­i­mal wel­fare. These def­i­nitely ad­dress and push peo­ple to go ve­gan and make plants the base of their di­ets. It’s not just a fad any­more. It’s fast be­com­ing a life­style, some­thing more and more peo­ple are learn­ing to em­brace and ap­pre­ci­ate.

If a cou­ple years ago ve­g­an­ism was just a buzz­word, these days, it has be­come a mat­ter many food com­pa­nies are se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing as the mar­ket pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow ex­po­nen­tially. If be­fore, peo­ple sim­ply brushed off the idea of lentil curry and nut milks, now they’re look­ing for them in su­per­mar­kets.

Still not con­vinced? Let these tell­tale signs show you that the upand- com­ing trend in cui­sine is plant- based. And that liv­ing clean and green, in ev­ery lit­eral sense of the word, isn’t so far- fetched.

MORE PEO­PLE ARE READ­ING ABOUT VE­G­AN­ISM ON­LINE

Peo­ple have taken an in­ter­est in the sub­ject, as ev­i­denced by a spike in searches for ar­ti­cles and sto­ries on “ve­gan,” ac­cord­ing to Google. There was a 32 per­cent in­crease from 2014 to 2015, and in 2016, it was an as­ton­ish­ing 90 per­cent. Since there have been a great num­ber of pos­i­tive news sto­ries about plant- based eat­ing posted on­line, peo­ple have taken the bait and fed their grow­ing in­ter­est. In the UK, for ex­am­ple, searches for ve­g­an­ism beat out other di­ets such as pa­leo and gluten- free based on data from Google Trends.

THERE’S A DE­CREASE IN MEAT CON­SUMP­TION

Be­ing a car­ni­vore seems to be fall­ing out of trend as peo­ple have been eat­ing less meat— some even none at all. Ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished by the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil ( NRDC), beef con­sump­tion among Amer­i­cans de­creased by 19 per­cent be­tween 2005 and 2014. The de­cline is also ap­par­ent with pork, chicken, shell­fish, and whole milk, though not at the same rate as beef.

COM­PA­NIES HAVE JUMPED ON THE BAND­WAGON

Com­mer­cial food brands rec­og­nize the op­por­tu­nity in tap­ping the grow­ing ve­gan mar­ket. As a re­sult, many have come out with lines that feed their needs. Ice cream com­pany Ben & Jerry’s has re­leased a non- dairy line that uses al­mond milk. Last year, they in­tro­duced pa­trons to health­ier ver­sions of their best­sellers like Cherry Gar­cia and Chunky Mon­key.

Sub­way of­fers ve­gan subs like the Mal­ibu Gar­den, com­posed of a patty made with brown rice and rolled oats and slathered with a zesty and fiery tomato sauce. Even home goods store IKEA has latched onto the trend with ve­gan ver­sions of their fa­mous meat­balls, pro­duced by mix­ing green peas, kale, pep­pers, and chick­peas.

PETA has made things a lot eas­ier with a com­pre­hen­sive list that iden­ti­fies which gro­cery finds are ve­gan. The ros­ter in­cludes Oreo cook­ies and Twiz­zlers.

BIG IN­VEST­MENTS PLACED IN VE­GAN FOOD STAR­TUPS

Pri­vate in­vestors see and rec­og­nize the fu­ture; they’re plac­ing mil­lions in food star­tups like Be­yond Meat, a plant pro­tein with the taste and tex­ture of meat. Both Mi­crosoft mogul Bill Gates and Tyson Foods swear by the brand and have in­vested in the Los An­ge­les pro­ducer. Other plant- based star­tups get­ting the at­ten­tion— and money— of big- named busi­ness­men in­clude Hamp­ton Creek, maker of the egg- free Just Mayo and oil- free Just Dress­ing, and Fol­low Your Heart, which is known for ve­gan eggs, ve­gan cheeses, and Ve­ge­naise.

THE RE­LEASE OF PLANT- BASED COOK­BOOKS

Cook­books have ve­g­ans cov­ered. Book­store shelves are slowly fill­ing with pub­lished ma­te­ri­als on the di­etary con­cerns of ve­g­ans. The Blos­som Cook­book comes from Ro­nen Seri and Pamela El­iz­a­beth, the tan­dem that in­tro­duced Amer­ica to this cui­sine. Ve­ga­nize It! is the ultimate DIY pantry and recipe book penned by Robin Robert­son, one of the ve­gan world’s most pro­lific au­thors. Thug Kitchen asks you to give a f* ck about what you eat. And there are piles more, touch­ing on a broad range of top­ics like grains, raw food, street food, hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ing, and bud­get meals.

FES­TI­VALS GATH­ER­ING FEL­LOW VE­G­ANS

The fact that this cause is be­ing cel­e­brated by pop­u­la­tions all over the world def­i­nitely means that it’s a big phe­nom­e­non. The two- day Ve­gan Fes­ti­val in Ade­laide, Aus­tralia has no­table speak­ers; the DC Vegfest is typ­i­cally at­tended by over 15,000 par­tic­i­pants who wolf down food from over 100 ven­dors; and VegFest in Hawaii has cook­ing demos, lec­tures, and live mu­sic. Closer to home, there’s the vol­un­teer- run Hong Kong VegFest launched in 2013, which in­cludes com­mu­nity pro­grams and movie screen­ings.

FILMS FEA­TUR­ING SUB­JECTS IN SUP­PORT OF THE MOVE­MENT

Movies and doc­u­men­taries that show why the world needs to shift to a ve­gan diet are not pro­duced mainly for en­ter­tain­ment. They stand for an ide­ol­ogy film­mak­ers want to bring to a wide au­di­ence. Many of them are about the mal­treat­ment of an­i­mals, like Earth­lings, fea­tur­ing Joaquin Phoenix; the award­win­ning Peace­able King­dom, which ex­am­ines farm­ers’ re­la­tion­ships to their an­i­mals; and the fac­tory farm­ing doc­u­men­tary Speciesism. Net­flix streams a hand­ful, too, such as Food, Inc., which tack­les the un­sus­tain­able prac­tices in­volved in pro­duc­ing meat, and the pop­u­lar Okja, an ac­tion film about an or­phan’s fight to save her su­per- pig from be­ing supper.

The writ­ing is on the wall: Ve­g­an­ism has ar­rived, and it won’t be long be­fore every­one gets with the pro­gram.

If a cou­ple years ago ve­g­an­ism was just a buzz­word, nowa­days, it has be­come a mat­ter many food com­pa­nies are se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing as the mar­ket pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow ex­po­nen­tially.

Fish carved out of a baby car­rot

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