Very few have been able to avoid the issues raised regarding today’s levels of meat consumption. Reports and guidelines from WHO and the Swedish National Food Agency, as well as documentaries like Cowspiracy, are highlighting the negative effects that our high levels of meat consumption has on both our health and the environment. According to Naturskyddsföreningen , beef has a climate impact of over 25 kg greenhouse gas equivalents per kg, compared to legumes which is close to zero.
Nowadays, going vegetarian is going mainstream. Sweden’s first completely organic, vegan restaurant – The Plant – recently opened in the food court Teatern in Ringen centrum in Stockholm. Owner Maximillian Lundin, a former meat lover, removed animal products as a way to be able to afford organic products – a double win for the environment. Click here to find an interview with Maximilian.
It is apparent that being at the forefront can be a business opportunity. Last fall, Swedish fast food chain Max announced that they would quintuple their vegetarian selection of meals, resulting in four new burgers (one vegan) that where presented in January. Max has been a leader in sustainability in the fast food business for quite some time now, and based on the reactions from consumers, their enlarged vegetarian selection was the right path to go.
This at the same time as McDonalds in American commercials has pushed the fact that they are not healthy and green as a new move to halt decreasing sales which in October last year where reported for the seventh quarter in a row. Let us see which tactic is the most efficient one…
The veggie trend is not just local: American fresh food chain Freshii have more than 75 locations in 15 countries worldwide, out of which four are situated in Stockholm. They provide healthy and energizing meals for people on the go, while they at the same time strives to reduce their environmental impact, from easily recyclable consumables to keeping stores small in size and to reduce the energy demand to only eco-friendly cleaning products.
If you want to take your sustainability ambitions further, entomophagy, also known as the human consumption of insects, might be the way to go. Bugs are high in protein and a climate friendly alternative. In Wales, restaurant Grub Kitchen is Britain’s first restaurant that serves insect-based meals, like burgers and falafels.
As far as we know, the bug burger has not yet reached any Swedish restaurants. If the urge for insects gets too big though, check out Bread the Future’s website. Chef Paul Svensson and baker Johan Sörberg are the creators of the initiative that raises the awareness of bread as a climate friendly food. With insects, or why not algae, as topping you can fulfil the protein needs as well.
As we can see, the options to choose from when craving a quick, vegetarian meal are increasing. Let’s hope that this is not just a trend but instead a change that will last.