Food Marketing Institute (FMI) asked consumers where they prefer to see plant-based meat alternatives in the grocery store, and the responses were mixed: 26% said the produce department; 37% said the meat department; and 37% said the frozen aisle. Here, a flexitarian and an ethical vegan share their thoughts.
A Dedicated Section Makes it Easier for Newbies
By Kathi Croston Sottosanti
I recently did a YouTube video discussing the amazing, and quite surprising, health benefits I experienced from being “meat free” for 30 days. What I learned was, when you use labels like vegetarian, vegan or carnivore, the message of health gets lost because people, by nature, want to debate the subject based on what they want—or in most cases, don’t want—to give up in their own life. This is why I used the words “meat free” and consider myself an experiment.
After watching the documentary The Game Changers, which features the athletic benefits of being a vegan, I decided to give it try to see how it affected my body. As a Mindset Coach, NASM CPT and WNPF World Record Holder for powerlifting, I had made it my job over the past 10 years to eat chicken, ground turkey or beef at almost every meal, with eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast almost every day. It was ingrained in my brain that in order to build muscle and strength, I had to have protein from meat.
For the first time ever, I was going to be eating meals without meat. The not eating meat part was easy, because I could eat everything but—however, the transition to a healthy, plant-based diet wasn’t so easy. I was now shopping differently and definitely feeling more scrambled (like the eggs I used to eat!). I needed new recipes, and found myself searching for items in the supermarket, making special trips to Whole Foods just for vegan cheese. It was more almond butter and Ezekiel bread than I was used to buying.
As a newbie trying to find my way, I would have definitely appreciated a section in a store that was all plant based, featuring easy-to-find substitutes. I was not coming from a hard-core vegan standpoint, opposed to all things meat, just a newbie transitioning to plant based, and guidance in a section of a store would have been great.
I am still experimenting with foods and still finding my way to what works best for my body. Before, I was eating organic poultry, and grass-fed beef, and I know exactly where to look in stores that have separated areas for healthier foods in general—I would love to have plant-based options be as easy!
En”light”enment Coach/Mindset Coach. I change your mind, you change your body. I teach people how to turn their light on and keep it on!
The Meat Section Attracts More to Plant-Based—That’s the Greater Good
By Terry Gleason
Hmm…where to put these plant-based meat alternatives? Like a lost little puppy, cold and all alone, trying to find its way home. However, this lost puppy has the power to drastically impact the environment, start changing people’s health, and start saving the lives of innocent animals. So let’s get this puppy home!
I actually found it interesting when asked where I felt these products belong in the store, because I wasn’t completely sure one way or the other. I honestly see both sides. Personally, as an ethical vegan, I avoid the meat aisle like the plague! I see meat looking back at me and I make a B-line for whatever aisle I can and look at the first thing I can that’s not meat. Underwear made out of cauliflower? I didn’t know I needed it but whatever, I’ll take it! So, I personally prefer that I don’t have to look at meat when purchasing my pulled jackfruit, plant-based chick’n nuggets, or vegan foie gras. I don’t think that last one exists yet…let’s go Beyond—make it happen!
BUT! I’m not an ethical vegan just for myself. This movement is bigger than my personal comfort. Plant-based meats can be a healthier option for lots of people. Plant-based meats are far better for the environment, and obviously plant-based meats don’t kill animals. So for the greater good of consumer health, for the greater good of this planet, and for the greater good of animals, I say we put the plant based meat alternatives in the regular meat section. I will forfeit my personal discomfort so an interested flexitarian can at least be exposed to other options.
Grocery stores have the power to be at the forefront of this fantastic plant-based movement. I already know the sneaky supermarket tricks of putting candy in the checkout aisles! Skittles are vegan? Hey, I’m supposed to be eating the rainbow, right? At the end of the day, this plant-based movement is going to benefit us all, so the more people on board, the better.
Terry Gleason began her health and wellness promoting journey as a K-8 Health and Physical Education Teacher. She currently focuses on adult group fitness, running outdoor Boot Camps, senior exercise classes, and promoting plant based nutrition. Terry is a certified Health and Wellness Coach and holds a certification in Evidence Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Contact Terry at ExerciseOutsideTheBox@Gmail.com or visit www.ExerciseOutsideTheBox.com