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Shifts toward a plant-based diet and Meatless Mondays

Gandhi once cautioned his followers that they shouldn’t seek to bring their opponents to their knees, but rather to their senses. And to the extent that we can do that through leadership by example, Tofurky seems to be fulfilling Gandhi’s advice in spades. Tofurky was a pioneer in shifts toward a plant-based diet long before concepts like Meatless Mondays and Vegan Before 6pm were common in the mainstream media. And now that Americans are beginning to eat less and less meat, Tofurky’s traditional opponents—like factory farm meat purveyors—are starting to recognize that perhaps there’s something to the shift toward plant-based protein.

You know our diets are shifting for the better when companies like Walmart start encouraging a reduction in meat consumption, and Dollar Tree sell Hampton Creek’s egg-free mayo—a product that once, in a distantly past era, might have been consigned solely to health food stores.

In fact, if you don’t happen to read Meat & Poultry as often as I do, you may have missed this great editorial asking meat producers, “why doesn’t the industry make meat analogs?” The writer notes that “meat analogs are evolving and tasting better than ever” and quotes a meat scientist talking about companies like Tofurky, counseling, “don’t fight them, join them.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening. Food giant Kraft may own Oscar Mayer, but it also owns Boca Burgers. Kellogg owns Morningstar Farms. Meat-centric chains like Johnny Rockets and Friendly’s are now offering vegan burgers. Even Burger King—the king of burgers—is promoting Meatless Mondays.

The world is indeed shifting, and for the better. Even pork giant Hormel recently bought another type of plant protein product: Skippy peanut butter. One benefit of this acquisition, according to another meat industry trade publication, Meatingplace, is that “activists are not using hidden cameras to scope out peanut abuse by Hormel’s suppliers.” Certainly not.

As more people begin eating to make the world a better place—like by following the Three Rs: refining their diets by avoiding factory farmed products and reducing or replacing those products by enjoying more plant-based meals—the food industry is indeed coming more to its senses rather than its knees. By following in the sensible path that Tofurky has trail-blazed for years, no doubt we’ll continue to see more of this massive sector shifting to meet that increasing demand.

Are you following a Meatless Monday or a Tofurky Tuesday? Have you gotten friends and family members to try a meat-free day once a week? Let us know below and we’ll randomly choose three of your comments to win free Tofurky products! (deadline Nov. )

Paul Shapiro is the Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at The Humane Society of the United States.

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