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Vegetarian trends

(article, Culinate staff)

Newspaper reporter Arthur G. Sulzberger (yes, his family owns the paper he writes for) recently published a much-linked New York Times article about how hard it is to find vegetarian fare in the Midwest. 

Sure, Sulzberger has taken flak for being a big-city kid whining about life in the land of KC barbecue, but others (see the comment thread on a related Times blog post) agreed that life can be tough in America for vegetarians, who remain a very small percentage of the population.

But, as Mark Bittman recently noted in a Times op-ed, the American population overall is consuming less meat. As blogger Ezra Klein reported on the Washington Post,_ "More and more people appear to be cutting back on beef and pork consumption for environmental or ethical reasons. (Although before vegetarians get too excited, one factor that often gets overlooked here is the aging of the population — as the baby boomers get older, they’ve been eating less meat.)"

Bittman suggested that the decline might even be part of a continuing trend, not just a Meatless Monday fad: "We still eat way more meat than is good for us or the environment, not to mention the animals. But a 12 percent reduction in just five years is significant, and if that decline were to continue for the next five years — well, that’s something few would have imagined five years ago."