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Vegan food boom

As people become increasingly aware of climate change and animal welfare issues, demand is growing for more and more green alternatives to meat and animal products. And this trend has now taken to the skies.

Switching to a vegan lifestyle, where for climate, diet or animal welfare reasons, you eschew the consumption of animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy, has in recent years, inspired people all round the world to replace these products with plant protein from soya, nuts, mushrooms and algae, for example.

According to the Vegan Society in Britain, the European market for plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy grew by 451% between 2014 and 2018, and England, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden in particular, have led the way in introducing vegan products.

According to a recent report from the Nordic Council of Ministers, it is primarily young millennials that skip meat, while an Ernst & Young survey from 2015 shows that 24% of the combined Nordic population, i.e. from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, want to eat less meat in the future.

Even though only a small proportion of the population are full-time vegans, the vegan food trend has made it easier to find climate friendly alternatives. There has been an explosive growth of vegan products on supermarket shelves, and dairy free ice cream, meat-free mince and fishless fish fillets have become part of the everyday range in the last couple of years. At the same time, a new generation of progressive restaurants is demonstrating that plant-based food does not have to taste of doom and gloom and can range from tasty street food and brunch to green gourmet cuisine and delicious cakes and pastries.

A vegan diet can also include cakes and pastries. These cakes from Café Kaf, a vegan patisserie in Copenhagen, include cream made from cashew nuts. Photo: Lise Hannibal

It is also sensible to think along these lines, as meat and dairy production is one of the big climate villains. According to The Guardian, a 2018 report from Oxford University reveals that livestock account for 83 percent of farmland globally, but only meet 18 percent of human calorie intake requirements. The report concludes that the most effective thing an individual person can do to reduce their carbon footprint, would be to stop consuming meat and dairy products.

This awareness of the carbon footprint of the meat industry and the readily available alternatives, is persuading more and more people to replace meat with vegetables. According to a report by Coop Analyse and the Danish Vegetarian Association, 27 percent of respondents in Denmark have already cut down on their meat consumption in recent years. And if you are to believe Lars Aarup, Senior Analyst at Coop, eating less meat is more than a fashion phenomenon.
“What we are seeing is that we are moving towards more green cuisine. Although still only 5-6% of the population are vegetarian, and around 1% vegan, some 20% of Danes label themselves flexitarians and they are growing fast in number. Meat is playing a less important role, especially among the under 35s,” he says to Scandinavian Traveler. “Sales of plant-based products, as replacements to meat and dairy, are simply growing, and pulses, beans, pumpkins, herbs and mushrooms will make up more of our diet,” Aarup forecasts.

This meat-free trend has also resonated with SAS, that is testing a vegan inflight meal for a two-week trial period from 9 November.
“Sustainability is important to SAS. We are witnessing a growing interest in plant-based food in society, and feel it is therefore important that we can offer a vegan meal as part of the inflight menu for a trial period,” says Karl Sandlund, Executive Vice President Commercial.

As with the rest of the SAS New Nordic menu, the vegan dishes will be based on locally produced seasonal produce of high quality. One of the main ingredients is thyme roasted, hand-picked, organic mushrooms from Hällestad in Skåne, the only organic mushroom grower in Sweden.

The rest of the dish consists of a salad of lentils, beetroot and wheat grains tossed in tarragon and black beans from the Swedish Baltic island of Öland, slices of yellow beetroot and yellow pea hummus from Bjälosa, Sweden, with parsley vinegar and toasted buckwheat.

The vegan menu will be available to SAS passengers on over 4,000 European and Scandinavian flights longer than 80 minutes.

Bon appetit!


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