Why the Culinary Institute of America Wants Restaurants to Serve More Plant-Based Proteins

Why the Culinary Institute of America Wants Restaurants to Serve More Plant-Based Proteins

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Consumers are not only more concerned than ever about what foods they are eating, but they are more educated about food sourcing. They want to know where their food is from, why isn’t it local, how fresh it is, if its organic and how many calories it has.

But it’s also much more than a health movement for consumers, some are making a moral decision to reframe from eating meat. There are several reasons consumers decide to stop eating meat. One is that the food media has exposed slaughterhouses in action and these often don’t leave a viewer with a good taste in their mouth. But, it’s also an ecological and sustain issue. Meat has a much bigger water footprint than grains, vegetable or beans. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat, according to PETA. 

It’s important to note that although the vegetarian movement has gain some momentum due to the moral and ecological implications of meat, the healthier dining guest isn’t solely gravitating to plant-based meals because they don’t eat meat. Restaurants are appealing to their palates with delicious menu options that feature a vegetable, grain or bean as the centerpiece of the dish. 

Menus of Change

With all of this being said, the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is on a mission to make plant-based protein focused dishes no longer an afterthought. They are encouraging the restaurant industry to do a “protein flip” and offer less animal meat in meals. 

“It came about in response to a clear need among foodservice leaders for an integrated, comprehensive, evidence-based set of guidelines for addressing the most pressing health and environmental concerns through business strategies that will keep their culinary operations thriving for decades to come,” said Sophie Egan, director of programs and culinary nutrition for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America.

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