I was reading a few prominent internet articles this week about nutrition and promoting healthy foods for kids. Over ninety percent of the recipes suggested in the articles contain dairy and cheese, swap out chicken for beef, and promote substituting turkey for just about everything except shampoo. America’s ongoing romantic relationship with meat and dairy is both disturbing and dangerous. The idea that one might consider eating meat or dairy free at least three times a week is a concept that pushes people into panic mode. However, amidst all of this chaotic and conflicting information, I was heartened to learn that there has been a remarkable increase in college student demand and desire to eat vegan and vegetarian.
Nearly one quarter of college students are vegetarian and sales of vegetarian meals at Universities doubled between 1998 and 2003 and continue to grow. This is good news and very telling. Conversely, while these future consumers are busy helping create a multibillion dollar mock meat industry there is little response and advice from mainstream nutritional “experts” to assist parents in preparing and creating meatless meals at home that address this current trend. Despite the fact that we still find it a challenge to sell the concept of an all vegetarian cooking show, it appears, when we look at the facts, vegetarians might just turn out to be a powerful economic force to be reckoned with.