September 1, 2009
Educated Food Choices Coming to Campus
September marks not only college students' annual return to campus, but also the industry-declared National Chicken Month.
This year, these two unrelated events have something in common, since thousands of back-to-school college students may notice something new in their cafeteria: healthier and humane meat-free chicken alternatives.
After working with The HSUS, more than a dozen university cafeterias from California to Washington, D.C., have added a popular meat alternative to their menus.
These new offerings come at a great time, since demand for vegetarian products is snowballing. In a 2006 poll of 100,000 college students conducted by Aramark (a major foodservice company), 30 percent of students said that it was "very important" to them to have vegetarian food options on campus, up from 26 percent in 2004.
Luckily, universities have been responding to students' desire for more vegetarian food options. Georgetown Law School, MIT, University of New Hampshire, University of Puget Sound, Sidwell Friends School, DePauw University, and many others have been serving up delicious, meat-free entrées.
Steve Santo, Depauw's director of dining services, says that these meat alternatives "have a meat-like texture which seems to be what people are looking for, and the quality is very, very good."
Good for Students and Animals
Reaching for more meat-free meals is a great way to alleviate the suffering of factory-farmed animals.
In addition to being more humane, meat-free alternatives are also often healthier for us and the environment.
They have zero cholesterol and are generally lower in fat and calories than meat.
Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of climate change, according to the National Food and Agricultural Organization, so choosing vegetarian foods can help protect the planet.
What You Can Do
With meat substitutes so easy to use in nearly every dish from lasagna to chicken curry, they're sure to be a hit on any college campus.
And of course, check out our Guide to Meat-Free Meals.