Are plant-based dishes in restaurants relevant only for vegans?


When hearing about the importance of the availability of plant-based dishes in public catering establishments, most people think first about vegans and their needs. Indeed, the supply of plant-based food is particularly important for this social group, given their dietary habits. But vegans, or in other words, people who eat exclusively plant-based food, are not the only group for whom the plant-based dishes freely available in the country's cafes and restaurants are important, favorable and useful. So who else is relevant availability of plant-based meals in the catering sector?

The rapidly developing industry has a negative impact on human health

The rapidly developing world, developing industry and technology, in addition to all their advantages, also have less favorable factors for people. Increased environmental pollution, the popularity and consumption of industrial products such as chemicals, drugs and unnatural food products have a negative impact on human health. As a result, allergic diseases become an increasingly relevant problem - these diseases affect people's health and quality of life. Of course, though the main cause of allergies genetic diseases and heredity are considered, however, genetic predisposition alone would not cause the disease to spread so rapidly, so it is believed that such a tendency is due to the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. 

Animal products are among the most dominant allergens

For this day is distinguished 14th of the main, most common allergens, five of which are of animal origin. Although this percentage is not high, taking into account the entire list of allergens, the following product categories are dominant in a traditional, omnivorous diet: eggs and their products, milk and milk products, fish and its products, shellfish, molluscs and their products. As for allergic reactions, although they are usually manifested by unpleasant sensations such as rash or itching, allergic diseases can also lead to factors such as suffocation, swelling of the tongue or throat and even anaphylaxis, which can even lead to death if first aid is not provided in time. 

Allergies will not prevent you from eating delicious and varied food

However, as scary as it may sound, allergies can be dealt with and, with proper self-care, you can live the same quality and fulfilling life. Nowadays, it is not difficult to buy products without certain allergens in stores: lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and if you are allergic to fish, eggs or other allergens replace them with various alternatives. It is easy to prepare safe food for yourself at home, but how can you be sure that you will avoid foods that are not good for you when you eat in a cafe or restaurant? It's simple - choose plant-based food. Plant-based food is not only delicious, nutritious and healthy, but when you order a meal at a restaurant, you know that it does not contain animal products that you are intolerant or allergic to. In addition, the taste of the dish will not suffer - visit "Here Gali" members and see for yourself.

Soy products only a very small part of plant nutrition in the diet

Although there are often stereotypes that all plant-based dishes are made with soy or its products, which is also one of the main allergens, this is not true. Fortunately, plant-based nutrition is so diverse and the choice is abundant that such simple products as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and various spices are enough to prepare a delicious and simple meal. 


Plant food is used to improve well-being

Concerns about their health and the desire to feel better also lead to people giving up or greatly reducing the consumption of animal products. Plant-based foods are easier to digest, richer in vitamins and beneficial minerals, and people take this into account when including these foods in their diet. There are even such trends in the world as Meatless Monday (Lit. Moonless Monday) or a month dedicated to plant-based nutrition - Veganuary. These initiatives are also common in Lithuania. Until recently, the campaign "auGalingas pirdienis" was carried out, encouraging people to abandon dishes of animal origin on Mondays, and the organization "Gyvi gali" organizes the "Vegetable Discoveries" program for the second year in a row, which takes place in January and is the Lithuanian equivalent of "Veganuary". registration is happening right now, so if you want to get to know plant-based nutrition and try it, you will still have time to jump on the plant-based discovery train. 

Consumer choices are also determined by ecological factors

Nowadays, climate change and the factors related to it are no longer just a distant phrase heard somewhere, but more and more people understand its relevance and threat. Of course, you won't save the world overnight, but small steps taken consistently and consciously can improve the situation a lot. Reducing the consumption of animal products, or giving it up altogether, contributes significantly to the prevention of climate change, since the meat and dairy industry is considered one of the most polluting and consumes the most natural resources. industries. Taking care of ecology and wanting to make their contribution to a more sustainable world, people consume more plant-based food, so the availability of such dishes in restaurants for this part of society, also known as climaters, is also relevant because it meets their value needs.

The attitude towards plant-based nutrition is favorable, but there is a lack of knowledge

Recently performed public surveys about plant-based nutrition, was better acquainted with people's attitudes and habits. Although for alternative eaters  - only 8.2 percent classify themselves as flexitarians, pescetarians, vegetarians and vegans. population, but we can be happy that more than a third of Lithuanians have reduced or tried to reduce their meat consumption in the last three years. 

Also encouraging is the fact that the absolute majority of respondents see plant-based food as healthy and animal-friendly, but still choose their usual dishes of animal origin more often. "It is possible that consumers are not yet well-acquainted with plant-based products and dishes, their better positioning is lacking, and availability is still low in certain parts of Lithuania. For this reason, it is extremely important for businesses offering plant-based options to properly inform consumers and to pay more attention to advertising such products or dishes," says M. Šermukšnė, head of the "Gyvi gali" organization. 

The more we delve deeper, we understand that easily available plant-based food in public catering establishments is important not only exclusively for vegans, but also for people with allergies and those who classify themselves as alternative eaters or are concerned about climate change, and take this into account in their diet. People are in favor of plant-based dishes, but they often lack the knowledge to prepare delicious, high-quality plant-based food at home. And this creates a favorable environment for restaurants to play not only an important role in meeting the needs of people, but also to keep pace with the trends, because the demand for plant-based nutrition is systematically increasing, and it seems that this demand will only increase in the future!

Cover photo © Marius Sutkus