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FEWD - University of Vienna: Erwin Lengauer "Veganism in Europe" in: FoodService Europe 2016/ Nr.6 Pan-European Survey. Good Food, Clean Conscience: Vegetarian and Vegan Concepts Are on the Rise. Part 1: Austria, France, Spain & Switzerland. (For the full magazine article from page 8 to 17 in PDF format see link at the end of the following text. The German version of my analysis is here)

“Since the 2000s, if not before, vegetarianism has been a ‘blossoming field of study’ in the cultural and social sciences. Today, the Gallup Institute and other major national opinion poll research institutes are talking about ‘only’ 1% vegans, 5% vegetarians and around 10-15% flexitarians in Western Europe and the USA. But it is clear that discussion of the topic is becoming more and more widespread in the media and that the number of products sold in the retail trade has grown significantly in recent years.

Since the first vegetarian society was founded in 1847 and the first vegan society in 1947 – both in Great Britain – the veggie movement has often been labelled as a rigid form of asceticism and anti-hedonism by traditional gourmets. Whilst this label for the founders of the movement, with their strong connection to the anti–alcohol and raw-food movements, was probably right, today only a few religiously strict veg* gastronomes keep to this ascetic path.

The intensified public debate about vegetarianism and veganism first came to prominence on the cover of Time magazine in 2002 with the headline, ‘Should we all be vegetarians?’ However, it was not until the autumn of 2009, with the publication of J. Foers’ book ‘Eating Animals’, that this topic became the subject of fervent debate in all the relevant feature pages round the world.

Over the last 20 years, vegetarianism and now veganism have become a trendy lifestyle choice for the younger middle class and city  dwellers. There is a growing range of vegetarian and vegan gourmet food on offer – if we are to believe the website Happycow.net/europe, there are now 10,000 outlets in Europe alone. According to the food experts at the British Guardian newspaper, this also means that, whilst, up to now, vegetarian food has never really been synonymous with fine dining, vegetarians have recently acquired many  more options for upscale gastronomic experiences.

So, in recent years, a number of vegetarian restaurants have been recommended in the Gault Millau and Michelin guides for the first time. In 2015, there followed the first distinction to be awarded in Europe to a purely vegan restaurant.

What is particularly interesting economically for the restaurant trade  as a whole, however, is the specific group of so-called flexitarians: people who still eat meat and fish, but who also find considerable appeal in high-quality, creative veg* dishes and who are willing to pay for them. Thus the inclusion of creative vegan dishes can help the restaurant trade to foster stronger brand loyalty amongst a consumer segment, that loves to experiment with new food and that also has, for the most part, high purchasing power.”

Erwin Lengauer, member of the cultural and social-science department’s vegetarian studies focus group at the University of Vienna, with a special research interest in bioethics.  fewd.univie.ac.at

FoodService Europe 2016/ Nr.6 Pan-European Survey. Good Food, Clean Conscience: Vegetarian and Vegan Concepts Are on the Rise. Part 1: Austria, France, Spain & Switzerland, page 8-17.

Special thanks for cooperation goes to FoodService Europe, see http://www.food-service-europe.com/digital/epaper/



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