It has been only a couple of years since the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations were published and started calling to reduce red meat consumption and increase the amount of berries, fruits and vegetables in your diet. If this kind of recommendation came from a random article online, no one would ever notice. But the statement of choosing “forks over knives” comes from thorough scientific evaluations. Let’s take a closer look at the trend and see how you can affect the future of food by joining a food hackathon next month.

Why should more people go plant based?

Better Health. First and foremost, plant-based whole food diet brings a lot of potential health benefits. People whose diet is rich in whole foods – fruits and vegetables – get much higher volume of nutrients than those who opt in for unhealthy options, like junk food. Plant based diet provides you with optimal macronutrients (pr, carbs etc), and is much higher in terms of micronutrient intake – magnesium etc, which can be found in foods like wholegrain cereals, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and berries.

Better Environment. Plant-based diet is not only healthier for humans. It is also better for the environment. Plant based food requires much less natural resources when compared to animal agriculture. In fact, animal agriculture is one of the main contributors to major environmental problems. Based on data provided in Cowspiracy documentary, “each day a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.”

Better Choices. Plant based diet opens up the whole new gastronomic experience. Delicious greens, legumes and grains are full of nutrients and it is easy to include them in traditional recipes. Foods like tempeh, beans, and tofu add texture, fiber, and healthy proteins to daily meal. Legumes are good for satiety and maintaining optimal energy levels. Smoothies offer variety of micronutrients, fiber, and antioxidants in one meal.

The number of plant based diet supporters is growing each year. Based on the data from this infographic, over 2,5% of the population of the US is choosing a plant-based diet. That number has been growing in Europe and Nordic countries as well.

Vege trend is strong in all Nordic countries. In the Nordics we have increasing and already quite good offering of plant based protein sources. We at Fazer are exploring the new plant-based dishes, cooking techniques and raw material combinations.”, comments Sanna-Maria Hongisto, Senior manager, nutrition at Fazer Group.

Increasing the use of vegetables is a trend that improves sustainability. Fazer has strongly invested in promoting this trend in recent years. At Fazer´s restaurants, the vegetable-promoting attitude has been seen in the presentation of dishes, the chefs’ training and in the development of vegetarian recipes for chefs and consumers.

Plant-based diet is predicted to be the key food trend in 2017

Do you want to join the global trend?

Not only consumers, but also large food companies in the Nordic region realize the benefits of plant based diet. Choosing more grains, fruits and vegetables whether for the sake of experiment or through a conscious decision, can be a challenging process. Here are some tips of how to transition to a plant-based diet painlessly.

Excellent thumb rule is first to take a look on how often one eats meat and think if less would be enough. We don’t all need to become vegans, but it’s healthier and better for the environment to eat less meat than we eat today. We at Fazer want to encourage to eat #moregreens!” – says Hongisto. “We want to lead the trend and support our customers’ wish to eat healthy, yet tasty food. Fazer´s new Wicked Rabbit concept takes the vegetarian revolution at our restaurants one step further.

If going full on vegan right away seems too radical, flexitarianism could be an optimal solution. Flexible vegetarian diet, also known as a flexitarian diet, is a plant-based diet with the occasional addition of meat. It is predicted to be a key food trend in 2017. The trend obviously boost the amount of vegetarian food on the market. Trendy vegetables, such as kale, pumpkin, black salsify and Jerusalem artichoke, grow in popularity and fill shop shelves.

It is much easier to go flexitarian. A good start would be to have one vegetarian day a week. Preparing vegetarian meals can be more fun when trying new ingredients, like beans, tempeh and tofu.

When transitioning to more strict diet, like veganism, one should focus on nutrients’ intake. Most important is to learn how to combine pulses (lentils, peas and beans) together with grains and get optimal protein intake Foods like nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy unsaturated fats and minerals.

What is the food of tomorrow?

Finnish food stores offer a good range of vegetarian and plant-based offerings. Fazer Group has put a lot of effort making plant-based food more mainstream.

Fazer is committed to advancing the global sustainable development agenda and providing a responsible offering for consumers. It is important for us to increase our offering of diverse plant-based products, services and concepts that cater for a more demanding and conscious consumer and also reach non-vegetarians. We are constantly looking for ways to offer new experiences and enhance a balanced and healthy diet among our consumers.” – says Nina Elomaa, corporate responsibility director at Fazer Group.

This spring Fazer organizes Foodathon – an open platform for co-creation and developing the culture around plant-based food. Foodathon consists of 2 competition tracks. One track is dedicated to new plant-based dishes, cooking techniques and raw material combinations. Another track explores different ways for changing views, discovering and innovating new concepts around vegetarian food.

Fazer welcomes everyone interested in or inspired by future food and plant based diet to join Foodathon on May 19-21. Application is open for individuals and teams by 20 April 2017. Apply here and explore new taste experiences and concepts with one of the leading plant-based food developers in the Nordics.

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