How is Seaganism going to impact the restaurant industry

By Mohamed Merali

The restaurant industry has gone through a significant transformation over the last few years, driven by consumers who are increasingly prioritising meals that are healthy, sustainably sourced and ethically produced. The conscious consumers are gradually moving away from their established approach to dining and the restaurant industry needs to adapt to the new attitudes of these diners.

The number of vegans in the UK has quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. Current numbers suggest that there are 600k plant-based eaters and with the increase of new vegan options entering the market, this number is expected to continue to grow. The vegan initiative Veganuary has seen over 400k people signing up to a plant-based month this January – including meat eaters who are temporarily giving up meat and animal products for a good cause and those who will continue with their vegan lifestyle beyond January.

While many consumers are not sticking to a strictly plant-based diet, their eating preferences are changing due to the new levels of awareness and emerging new food options. Flexitarians are consciously reducing their meat consumption and increasing their plant-based food intake to help the environment and maintain a healthier lifestyle. The number of flexitarians in the UK continues to rise, with recent research suggesting that over 45 percent of meat eaters are planning to reduce their meat consumption this year. In addition to that, 49 percent of flexitarians are intending to further reduce meat going forward.

Following the recent increase in vegan diets, a number of reports now suggest that Seaganism is set to become the next big food trend this year. Seaganism is a mainly plant-based diet, which includes sustainably sourced seafood, different from a traditional pescatarian diet, as it doesn’t include any dairy products or eggs.

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report suggests that one of the biggest trends they have seen last year is the ‘seacuterie’, the reimagined charcuterie using seafood instead of meat. The Australian-originated trend which includes pickling, fermenting, smoking or aging seafood, is now making its way to restaurants, where chefs are beginning to add value to fish in ways they have done with meat for many years.

In addition to the health benefits of a plant-based diet, consuming seafood provides a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation in the body, acting as a cancer prevention measure, help to maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, as well as brain function and vision. Both, plant-based foods and seafood are the key elements of the latest UK government guidelines for a healthy diet, with recommended two portions of fish per week together with a high intake of plant-based meals.

Seafood consumption in the UK has been on the rise last year, increasing by 12 percent, in contrast with the fall in red meat consumption, demonstrating the increasing popularity of seafood and shift towards a healthier diet.  The health benefits of seafood are well known and when paired with the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, a seagan diet provides a more flexible option for diners who are looking for more sustainable and tasty dining options.

About the author

Mohamed Merali is the Managing Director of Paradise Seafood, London’s leading fresh and frozen seafood supplier to fine dining restaurants, hotels and caterers.

Source: Paradise Seafood

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