How many vegetarian options were there at the last restaurant you ate out at? A veggie lasagne? And maybe a butternut squash risotto? It’s always a veggie lasagne or a veggie risotto, isn’t it? Booooring.
Even though more and more people in the UK are trying to cut down on their meat consumption, with the rise of #MeatFreeMondays and veganism soaring in popularity, restaurants are still vegging out when it comes to veggie dishes.
This was the conclusion of a recent survey of 2,002 adults carried out by veggie restaurant guide provider More Than Carrots in conjunction with Censuswide. It found that 22 per cent of people who are trying to eat less meat don’t find it easy to order something interesting when eating out. Seven in ten respondents even admitted to avoiding certain eateries because of their lack of veggie options.
Overall, 28 per cent – that’s some 14.9 million – of people in the UK can be classed as meat-reducers – that’s not a type of specialist butcher in charge of trimming bits of meat, but consumers who are growing more conscious of the potential impact of eating too much meat on their bodies and the wider environment.
More than one-quarter (26 per cent) of meat-reducers said they were cutting down on the likes of chicken, pork, lamb and beef to try to decrease their carbon footprint, and 15 per cent said they were cutting back because of deforestation concerns.
Annette Burgard, founder of More Than Carrots, commented: “Climate change is a tipping point and a lot of people are beginning to realise the enormous impact that reducing meat in their diet can have on the environment.”
With this in mind, people will be wanting to make sure their meat-free substitutes are sustainably sourced too, but all of this is making it harder for meat-reducers to choose decent options in restaurants.
Indeed, More Than Carrots found meat-reducers spent an average of 13 minutes researching menus before deciding on somewhere to eat – not helped by the discovery that 75 per cent of all restaurant menu options in London contain meat.
But does all of this mean that cutting back on meat consumption or going veggie is too much hassle? Of course not! Some restaurants are getting more experimental with their veggie options – yep, more experimental even than butternut squash risotto. And you can always experiment with your own vegetarian cooking at home too.
In the comfort of your own kitchen, you can get much more creative than veggie lasagne, trying out all kinds of flavours, textures and substitutes. Just remember to make sure you’re still consuming plenty of important iron and filling protein and it’ll be all gravy (vegetarian gravy, of course).