With cost increases, the economic downturn and a focus on all things green, could meatless meals be poised to become the next great food trend? Last month, Ghent, Belgium, made headlines when it became the first city to go meatless once a week. Then a recent vegetarianism poll generated surprising results: more than 25 percent of you said you're vegetarians, and nearly another quarter of you eat fish and not meat. But all of this comes as little surprise to Gourmet, which argues that the country's financial woes have prompted a new wave of meatless eaters: recession flexitarians.
More than half the shoppers surveyed by the American Meat Institute say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat as a result of the economy. Many of them have become flexitarians, or mostly vegetarian consumers who occasionally eat meat. The USDA estimates that every category of farm animal will experience a drop in meat production for the first time in more than 35 years, and the publishing industry has seen a wave of new books focused on eating less meat.
Since forgoing meat will also help address increasingly popular issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, obesity, and world hunger, the growing number of meat-free eaters seems to make sense. Still, I can't help but wonder whether America will return to its steak-gnawing ways once the economy improves. What do you think? Have you found yourself eating less meat?