It is essential that we become better stewards of the planet’s resources.
The demand for plant-based proteins is becoming more prevalent than ever. The interest in meatless alternatives has risen due to a number of reasons, including: increased interest in food sustainability, disruption caused by climate change, the need for healthier diets and concerns for animal welfare. As consumers continue to become more educated on the impact their food choices have on not only themselves but the environment, as a business owner, adding plant-based options to your menu would be highly advantageous.
Restaurants who sell plant-based meat alternatives have shared that not only will a plant-based protein garner a larger consumer audience, increasing traffic and demand, but it has the potential to improve a business’ cost efficiency. We have been able to see margins maintained with restaurants who have the plant-based menu options versus animal protein, and continue to offer more daily specials due to the cost impact.
Beyond the economic benefit that a plant-based protein may contribute to your business, it is important to consider the individual and societal footprint you are making. Here are three reasons why it’s important to add plant-based items onto your menu:
Plant-based protein is sustainable
Today, humans consume 70 billion animals every year. As the world population nears 8 billion people, with projections pointing toward a continued increase, it is essential that we become better stewards of the planet’s resources because at this trajectory, the global animal protein food supply is simply unsustainable. On the other hand, plant-based proteins are quite sustainable. Our products are derived from three essential ingredients: soy, water and salt and therefore do not add additional stress to food supply. Including plant-based items on your menu and shifting away from animal-based foods has the potential to significantly add to the global food supply without expanding croplands or further encroaching on plant habitats. In turn, this addition would mean that you are now actively contributing to the rectification of the food supply chain.
Plant-based protein positively contributes to the environment
The negative impact that traditional proteins have on the environment are of great concern. The production of meat protein contributes to a significant level of greenhouse gas emissions, 37% to be exact. Plant-based products on the other hand, help play a part in the reduction of the world’s carbon footprint. Animal proteins also require 100 times more water to produce a pound of animal protein than a pound of soy protein. By including plant-protein on your menu you are also contributing to the conservation of water. Animal protein pollutes the water and air, and adds to the further destruction of plant habitats. By switching to a plant-based alternative, all of these negative environmental impacts which occur due to animal protein consumption, have the ability to be mitigated.
Plant-based protein support healthy living
Providing a plant-based protein alternative on your menu is not only a large draw for vegans and flexitarians, but it also accommodates those with dietary restrictions, allergies, and supports a variety of health issues. It is important to understand the inclusion of plant-based products into a menu, and therefore integration into one's diet, can yield a number of health benefits. Plant-based proteins have increased fibers and antioxidants that other proteins cannot supply. Additionally, they are low in fat content. A plant-based lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cancer and other pathogens, reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues and heart disease, as well as reduce cholesterol levels and the effects of bone health issues.
As you can see, consumers are quickly diversifying their overall diets and though it may seem trivial, a small switch in protein products could yield dramatic results for the food service industry. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to keep up with this dietary evolution and begin including alternative protein products on your menu. By doing so, you are not only expanding to a larger population but you are attributing to the amelioration of the world in which we live in.
Alex Kramarchuk is the CEO of Future Foods Enterprises, which produces PAOW! (an acronym for "People And Our World"), whose products are made entirely from 3 simple ingredients - non-GMO soy, salt, and water. Alex is a proud CPA who always looks at the dollars and cents of every decision. He is also a flexitarian, father of two and is an avid beach volleyball player.