The Flexitarian Diet

The Flexitarian Diet

Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, we’ve heard a lot of terms to describe the types of diets out there today. But flexitarian? That was a diet we rarely heard about. Today, we thought we’d do a deep dive into the flexitarian diet so your restaurant can be prepared for diners craving a little something… different(ish).

With all the new trends in meatless meals and vegetable-forward dining, it pays to be educated about what’s trending on dinner tables across the nation. We’re all pretty familiar with the usual suspects: Vegetarians strip their diets of meat and poultry, and vegans strip their diets of anything that requires an animal at all (meat and poultry, eggs and dairy, gelatin and honey). Pescatarians opt for a vegetarian diet that includes fish and seafood. Folks opt to omit animal products from their diets for a number of reasons, all of them sound in their own way. There are the clear health benefits associated with decreased meat intake, such as lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease and obesity. Others can’t afford meat, or are concerned with the environmental impact livestock farming has on the globe. Then there are the non-carnivores who simply love animals too much to eat them (Lisa Simpson, anyone?).  All in all, there are tons of benefits to going meat-free, and it’s catching on now more than ever. But as we’ve discovered recently, there is a middle-ground for consumers who just can’t seem to part with the occasional burger. Enter: The Flexitarian.

The word “flexitarian” hit dictionaries in the late 90s, describing those who maintained a mostly vegetarian diet but who sometimes ate meat or fish (Flexible + Vegetarian = Flexitarian). It’s a way to introduce a little wiggle room into a diet that can be seen as restrictive to those not interested in taking the full vegetarian/vegan plunge. With the huge variety of vegetarian faux-meat options out there, it’s easier than ever for consumers to adopt a more plant-based diet. Add to this the popularity of meatless items hitting our fast-food chains like crazy, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a deluge of flexitarians entering your restaurant.

There aren’t hard-and-fast rules about the flexitarian diet. No one is requiring those who follow it to eat meat on certain days or restrict the types of fish they consume. Nope—it’s pretty lax, and that’s what is so interesting. “Whether flexitarians eat meat once a day, once a week or just occasionally is up to the individual person,” according to The Spruce Eats.

The cool thing about the flexitarian diet is just how… well, flexible it is. As long as your restaurant’s menu includes an abundance of variety, including both meat and non-meat options, you’re in the clear. It’s likely there’s no cause for concern about this diet—you probably don’t need to make any changes to your menu to accommodate these diners, and chances are you might never even know they’re among your guests. But it’s always exciting to learn about a new food trend, right?