The Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant Trend

This article was in the Toronto Star this past weekend (January 13, 2013).  It was a special article written by Michelle Williams.  I was pleasantly surprised to read it and thought I should share it.  I’m happy to learn that more and more restaurants are turning the corner to cater to vegans and vegetarians and also offer foods that may help stall the growing obesity epidemic.


There’s no denying it, eating vegetarian or vegan (ish) is taking the mainstream by storm – and it’s attracting a lot of attention from big businesses who want to capitalize on the growing market.

Early this September, fast food giant McDonald’s announced it would open vegetarian-only locations in two of India’s most famous pilgrimage sites in 2013.

It’s not the first multinational to hone in on one of the largest vegetarian markets on earth.

Subway, Domino’s Pizza, and Yum! Brands Inc. (which includes KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), are also competing to corner India’s multi-billion dollar markets for American fast food.

But competition is also building at home in Canada, and local Toronto vegetarian restaurant owners should take note of their new competitors.

Los Angeles PR consultant Farrah Parker says that, on a fundamental level, “entering the vegetarian market allows a chain to offer additional products at higher price points, to increase overall sales goals.” But for local restaurants, she adds, “fast food chains entering the game does not automatically equate to defeat.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a fight coming. And it’s one with a lot of contenders, as other food industry giants prep to stake their claim on the $50 billion (U.S.) health food sector.

Recently, Starbucks Corp. launched its first juice bar in Washington under its newest brand, Evolution Fresh. Lyfe Kitchen (an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday) — founded by two former McDonalds executives and an Oprah Winfrey celebrity chef — opened its first restaurant in California with the promise of doing to healthy food what McDonald’s did for burgers and fries.

It may seem intimidating, but local restaurant owners like Jennifer Italiano, co-founder of Live Food Bar in Toronto, have found ways to embrace the change.

“People are becoming more conscious about healthy eating on a whole,” she says “The healthier the options, the better. Big businesses can help bring more awareness and everybody benefits.”

Dr. Douglas Graham, author and creator of the 80/10/10 Diet — a popular set of rules for eating raw, vegan foods — shares this view.

“The very fact that McDonald’s and other giants are catering to the demand for vegetarian and vegan food options is exceptionally telling,” he says. “They realize this portion of the population represents a large part of the market share, and that this demographic is growing, not shrinking. I see this as an extremely positive change.”

The Vegetarian Resource Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on vegetarianism and healthy eating, says more people than ever are aware of how standard North American eating habits can damage health, harm the environment and support animal cruelty — and that the trend is likely to continue.

So there you have it folks.  Vegan and vegetarianism is here to stay.  I’m happy about all of this.

The Standard North American Diet, also known as the SAD diet is not health promoting.  It has been around for a very long time but with the addition of processed, chemically enhanced, saturated fat laden, long shelf life food now on the market it has become very unhealthy adding to the obesity epidemic, growing diabetes rates, cancer and heart disease!   Switching to fresh, whole, organic, vegan or vegetarian habits will be good for your health, your family and the enviroment.

Join the trend and get healthy at the same time.  Eating vegan is very satisfying and if done properly, you will not have to worry about your weight.  The excess will come off and stay off with little effort.  That is one of the many benefits of giving up the Standard North American Diet.  It’s all good!

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