The dietary preferences of the general public are far more diverse than they were, say, twenty years ago. It seems that most folks that elected to pursue vegetarian or vegan lifestyles didn’t get to that point until later in their lives. Today, though, we’re seeing more and more school-age children adopt vegan diets.
It’s no secret that the mainstream, non-vegan diet has a fairly substantial environmental impact on the dairy and meat industry. The increase in demand for vegan options has resulted in an increase in the supply of plant-based food. That means that even non-vegans will likely eat more plants as well. If you’re looking for proof, look no further than the New York City public schools, which announced that 1,200 of their locations will be offering vegan lunch choices in their cafeterias.
Eric Adams, the president of the Brooklyn Borough schools is a huge supporter of the menu addition, and he’s particularly excited that the menu change was driven by student initiative. New York City isn’t the first major metro to launch a vegan menu. Seven schools in the L.A. district launched a vegan pilot program at the beginning of the year.
Schools aren’t the only institutions that are adding plant-based menus. More and more restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon, too. TGI Fridays and Sonic are both experimenting with vegan burger options. Also, the American Medical Association is working with hospital nutritionists in an effort to get more plant-based diets into hospitals.
With the number of restaurants and other institutions like schools and hospitals getting on board, it’s pretty likely that the “pace” of plant-based diets will pick up speed. Hopefully, we’ll be able to quantify the benefits of the movement not only on the health front but also the positive impacts on the environment.