“You are what you eat”- This awareness has grown. People have evolved from what they used to be up until even a decade ago. Earlier, the cattle or poultry used to be procured, it would be bred ethically. Today, the use of GMO crops has increased, genetic modifications of these animals have been on the rise. So consumption of meat is not healthy. Now, if someone wants to eat healthy, the only way is to try and reduce the carbon footprint and try to get better quality produce. This can be fulfilled by eating vegetarian and green foods,” shared Chef Arnez of Sante Spa Cuisine BKC.
As we see that globally more and more people are choosing a healthy lifestyle, including veggies like corn, leafy greens, green beans and broccoli in their diet, pushing chefs to play around these ingredients to prepare a heartening meal at their restaurants. Also, if we local at eating local greens and vegetables, the awareness about eating locally and seasonally have grown in last few years and this has made chefs and restaurants source vegetables that are both healthy and are seasonally available.
“With driving trend towards more plant based diet it has become imminent for us to adapt and cater the wants of the customers. We all know that plants have lot of nutrients and it’s always healthy to consume fresh vegetables,” pointed Chef Dayashankar Sharma, Owner & Executive Chef, Heritage Dulwich, London by adding that after the pandemic, people have become more cautious and have been shifting their eating patterns towards greens, that's why inclusions in the current menu are more.
What’s pushing such trends
If we look at data, around 26 per cent of millennials are vegetarians and also 10 per cent of the world’s population follows some kind of vegetarian-diet. So, there is no surprise that more and more restaurants are coming up with vegetarian and plant-based menu.
“2020 was the year everyone discovered plant-based, with new products appearing across the market, from bakery and pastries, to pizza, lattes, and even dirty burgers.People have become more aware about good health and staying healthy is what many of us desire. When it comes to general health people are feeling good when introducing plant based diet,’ added Sharma who has included greens like broccoli, fine beans, spinach, kale in many of his dishes at his restaurants in UK.
Commenting on the same, Ashwin Mocherla, Co-founder, The Thickshake Factory and TTSF Cloud One pointed, “Consumers are always fascinated with something innovative and new in the market and trying novel things, especially millennials. I feel that with every other element of the service, menu innovation should align with a brand’s overall identity. And to ensure the same we keep a close tab of what people are eating and what’s trending and we research as to how we can put our spin on it.”
Approaching towards betterment
A vegetarian-inclined diet has immense health benefits. And with more than a quarter of dinner meals in the country being vegetarian or vegan, these benefits are quickly becoming known. As we all are aware that the vegetables are a key source of essential nutrition and play a crucial role in healthy diets. Healthy diet is a key to a better immune system and overall health, so a focus on diets containing the nutrients we need to thrive and not just to survive, is essential. Vegetables are a fundamental source to all these essential nutrients. On the other hand, COVID-19 pandemic introduced unexpected stresses on food systems, creating many immediate challenges.
“We realized that higher intakes of specific nutrients appear to boost the immune system, while low intakes lead to less effective immune reactions and higher exposure to infection. Even a minor drop in the risk from healthier eating could make a difference and for all the same reasons we wanted to come up with a solution that could cater to all these points and provide a solution to our target customers,” added Mocherla who recently tied up with Tiger Shroff’s Prowl Foods to make India healthier and happier with an ever-changing menu of fresh and ready-to-eat meals.
And, as we all know that a healthy nutritious and a well-balanced diet along with any physical goings-on is the base of a good health. Due to the pandemic, where our lives were severely affected, our eating and drinking habits changed significantly. And with health at the vanguard of the conversation for the anticipatable future, foods that enhance immunity and keep us healthy would drastically rule the day.
“Nowadays people are more health conscious. and are educated enough to understand the benefits of plant based food. It’s healthier, no fat contain and can easily get digested. I think it will work well,"concluded Sharma.