Published on July 24, 2019

Plant foods in dishes on cutting board

Why Plant-Based Foods Is a Hot Topic

Amanda Viau, ACE, CEC, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Food Service Director, offers these thoughts on the hot topic in culinary and nutrition circles: plant-based foods.

  1. There is increased awareness about balanced diets that include lean proteins and an increase of plant-based fibers that come from foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. This balance can improve our body’s performance. “People are more educated and engaged on how different foods make their bodies feel,” said Viau. “The holistic ‘mind, body, spirit’ thought process is something coming forward more in culinary food service from both sides, the chefs/cooks and their customers/clients.”
  2. Conversations about environmental impact from animal emissions, though sometimes controversial, are happening more often. “Farmers are really working on sustainable approaches, no matter what they grow or raise, and that’s leading to more efficiency in their work,” she said. “Plants as well as animals will take land and water, as well as resources to transport them from producers to consumers.”
  3. More diners have more interest in world flavors, including the many plant-based, health-promoting cuisine choices that rise from Asia, Latin America, and the Mediterranean. “Marketing is helping customers think less about ‘converting’ and more about expanding their palates to include new menu items,” Viau said. “Many just happen to be plant based. In food service we love the growing choice because we want to offer a variety of food options based on flavors, not just labels.”

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