Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.
The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.
Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”
Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.
In the food industry, nothing is what it seems. At Ava Winery, wine is grape-less. Popular distillery Misadventure and Co. is producing vodka made with food waste. Ripple is not far behind, introducing an entire line of dairy products made with yellow peas.
“The food system represents 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and dairy is one-quarter of that,” said [co-founder Neil] Renninger… “The impact is massive. More than beef, more than chicken, dairy is actually the largest contributor to emissions by volume. That challenge scratched my sustainability itch.”
Since its launch, Ripple has sold a healthy 2.5 million bottles of plant-based products. Renninger and partner Adam Lowry admitted that most plant food “sucks” because the industry doesn’t spend enough time doing research to create better food items. To be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
“Their idea of innovation is a brand extension . . . We saw huge potential for impact—a lot of white space in the world of food innovation through technology.”
Yellow peas, Ripple’s ingredient of choice, isn’t strongly flavored and is relatively inexpensive to grow. It also provides a sufficient amount of protein, significantly more than almond milk does. Eliminating 3.5 pounds of carbon emissions per 48-ounce bottle, Ripple has a lot to brag about.
“It’s not that we have the only pea milk on the market; what makes us unique is that, thanks to technology, we have the purest plant protein in the world,” says Renninger.
And with its pea milk currently coming in five different flavors, I can’t imagine Ripple is going out of business anytime soon.
Whether we like it or not, experts seem to think dinner menus could use a lot less meat and a lot more creepy crawlies. With fly larvae on the rise as the world’s latest superfood, restaurants are now serving up insect burgers (with fries!). Though on board with the change, TGI Fridays is taking a more subtle approach to meat alternatives. Along with Beyond Meat, the popular restaurant chain is introducing a meatless patty called the Beyond Burger.
“We tested many concepts and The Beyond Burger was far and away the favorite plant-based burger among both our guests and chefs, making it the ideal addition to our popular Burger Bar,” [said] Stephanie Perdue, TGI Fridays Chief Marketing Officer.
Incredibly, the burgers boast the same amount of calories as a regular beef patty does. However, it comes without the burden of cholesterol and only half the saturated fat. Since its trial period, the burger has hit 465 branches of TGI Fridays.
“Our belief is that the best way to get people to eat less meat is by giving them what they love… without so many of the health, sustainability, and animal welfare downside of a traditional animal-based burger,”
Who knew plants could be so tasty?