Vegetarianism and veganism are in vogue at the moment. As Veganuary draws to an end, some are wondering if we might even be approaching “Peak Meat” in Europe – the point where meat consumption hits a ceiling and eventually begins to decline.

Certainly, consumption per capita of beef and pork in the EU-27 has not grown for several years, and poultry consumption has slowed. At the same time, an increasing number of plant-based products have been hitting supermarket shelves (though still representing a fraction of the market compared to meat products). In addition, many consumers have been cutting back on meat for health or environmental reasons, even if they haven’t been going full vegetarian or vegan.

All things considered, it’s never been easier to go veggie or vegan. Yet challenges remain. For example, dining out can be a difficult experience for a herbivore. Options are often limited (if there are vegetarian meals on the menu at all). Restaurants in the EU are already obliged to inform customers about allergens, such as nuts, in their meals. Should they also be obliged to provide vegan or vegetarian options?

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Julia, who thinks that all restaurants should be obligated by law to have vegan options on their menu. She says:

Image of a citizenAnother things that would help would be if all restaurants were obligated by law to have a selection vegan-protein based meals on their menu. The only choices at restaurants are meat or dairy. This makes it difficult for health minded people who wish to reduce meat, environmentally friendly people, lactose-intolerant people, vegans and even vegetarians (who get bored with one cheese options only or the one veggie burger option). Also this would solve the additional problem of people being forced to pay full price when ordering a meal minus meat, over-priced starters or sides or over-priced salads.

To get a response to Julia’s comment, we put it to Luisa Crisigiovanni, Secretary General of Altroconsumo, the largest independent consumer association in Italy. What would she say? Would mandatory vegan options on menus be going too far?

For another perspective, we put the same comment to Isabelle Mulkerrins, who blogs on nutrition, veganism, health and lifestyle. How would she respond?

I personally agree with Julia, because having vegan options on the menu would cater for everyone. So, it’s not just for vegans but also people who are lactose intolerant or have a milk-protein allergy, or just those who want to eat more vegetarian.

Also, it would mean that if you went out to eat with a group of friends and you were vegan or vegetarian, then you would know there would be an option for you. Plus, there is such a trend now that more people want to try eating vegan, so going out to eat could be a good opportunity to try a plant-based meal for the first time…

Should all restaurants be required to have vegetarian options? Or would that be going too far? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: Unsplash – (cc) Priscilla Du Preez


39 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Andy Lita

    No. We can encourage free competition where a restaurant can choose what food to offer and what clients to target.

  2. avatar
    Irina

    Not at all…. Everyone is free to go where he/she wants.

  3. avatar
    Arnout

    Vegan options* we all cry climate change but do not have the free will to change ourselves. Only to point and blame others in a nice circle jerk.

    • avatar
      Raquel

      calm even meat eaters are making changes that are meanful

    • avatar
      Arnout

      we are still not on course. So it depends what you note as meaningfull. Too late is for me not meaningfull.

  4. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Should all restaurants be required to have vegetarian options?

    It strikes me this Debating Europe platform is obsessed with banning businesses in any way they can select to do so. The control freakish mind of the EU is disturbing and rings of politics past. Like the 1930’s for example.

  5. avatar
    Aubrey

    That’s a silly slippery slope. Besides, most already do.

  6. avatar
    Róbert

    Only after we finish nationalizing the whole industry, and then we can start living the commie utopia. As long as restaurants are privately owned, business decisions and risks are theirs, alone. Clients don’t decide services, they only choose from offered services. Daddy government can’t impose it, unless you desire to live in a totalitarian, authoritarian state. Wonderfully regulated societies tend to have a problem in keeping citizens in, stopping their own people from escaping over the border.

  7. avatar
    Franck

    Should every restaurant be required to have a meat menu option ? Mandatory everything? Can’t we choose freely where we want to eat, or what we want to cook? So ridiculous.

  8. avatar
    Chris

    If you don’t want to eat meat, don’t eat meat.

  9. avatar
    Wasim

    It’s good question i must say from economical prospective, while the answer may sound obvious for many,
    But first let’s define vegan and vegetarian
    They both are specific type of people that for various reasons decided or cannot (depending on the reason itself) eat certain type of good (meat for veterinarian, egg and milk products for vegan)
    While some have their medical reason to avoid such thing like lactose intolerance or even allergic to meat (not going to get deeper in medical side i am not a doctor) however other and they are quite majority (exaggerated maybe) made their choices for ethical reasons
    For the second type of person, offering vegan or vegetarian option won’t do the propose as they against the principal itself, they against such restaurant that serve such meal and they don’t even consider it as meal
    On the other hand for those who actually don’t mind anyone else choices and they may envy those who could eat those products without consequences, it’s normal thing to do, however because they are not large amount of people (while as i assumed the majority are for ethical reasons) it shouldn’t be specifically vegetarian or vegan option as that could be taken wrong from the second type of vegetarian or vegan and it could be Single of aggressive from restaurant themself, let the option be natural side by side with any other normal Dish, like made some Italian vegetarian dish but don’t label it vegetarian, just under special meal or normal meal, that’s my opinion

    • avatar
      Raquel

      I don’t know all the vegans and vegetarians I know are chill. Some don’t like it, some want to reduce carbon footprint, some wouldn’t be able to raise and kill an animal and don’t like how animal are treated in mass production farms. Some all together but, still if I start eating a steak in front of them they will not say a thing or react about it.

    • avatar
      Wasim

      Hey man, thank you for your comment
      While what you start with defining the veg and vegan is exactly what i tried to summarize with ethical reasons, it might no be the best summarize tho
      However, regarding your last part, eating in front of them wouldn’t makes you much comfortable neither them, Still their reaction of not care or ignoring the fact that you are eating steak which is against their principles is because the value you and appreciate sitting with you over other principles they have and they won’t force their principles on you because that won’t be ethical first, second there might be a chance to lose you in such argument, so they just ignore all this and simply sitting with you
      Exception to my analysis of coyrse exist, and the whole analysis might be wrong too, again it just my own thought and opinion

  10. avatar
    Bruno

    I agree, as long as i can go to a vegan restaurant to eat a t-bone, i’m ok with that

  11. avatar
    Jeroen

    No ofc not. That is a stupid idea.

  12. avatar
    Christo

    Ha-ha. This is even worse than communism.

  13. avatar
    Paul

    Required, no but probably the majority will soon have.

  14. avatar
    James

    They should all be required to have gluten free options

    • avatar
      Raquel

      don’t they already?

    • avatar
      James

      nope

  15. avatar
    Steffan

    F#¤% no, but would be smart to have to not exclued certain customers from economical point of view

  16. avatar
    Elie

    They do what they want stop the “forcing” opressing” ideas

  17. avatar
    Isabelle

    Yes, but with the B12 pill at the end of the meal, so that the client did not die on the carpet.

  18. avatar
    Nuno

    « Be required » ? Why to debate useless and dumb undemocratic measures ?

  19. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Should all restaurants be required to have vegetarian options?

    No, why should this be done? Freedom of choice is the right of any human being, so we are told.

  20. avatar
    Nadya

    As long as people have the option of not going to a particular restaurant I don’t see any point in that. Most restaurant have 1-2 vegetarian options on the menu already.

    Should all vegetarian restaurants be required to have meat options on the menu though? That would make a more interesting topic of discussion.

  21. avatar
    Raquel

    No. Restaurants are private companies and there already many restaurants with this option. People are usually considerate when planning going outs and choose restaurants within vegetarian and vegan options already so what is the need.
    Will vegan restaurants be forced to a a dish with animal products then? No because makes no sense.

  22. avatar
    Michelle

    After reading this piece, I have come to understand both sides of this debate. However, I personally believe that restaurants should not be obligated to have vegetarian options. I understand that providing such can have its many benefits. For instance, it welcomes a broader market, giving consumers more choices on the menu—this helps to increase sales within the restaurant. Additionally, providing vegetable dishes is certainly a healthier choice—asides from these benefits, requiring a restaurant to have vegetarian options shouldn’t be necessary. I believe that what a company or restaurant chooses to sell is their choice only. These restaurants belong to a free economy and shouldn’t be told what to put on their menu. It’s essential to consider everybody’s preferences; however, in this world, we have a range of restaurants that target different clients. Some restaurants solely focus on vegan food, and other restaurants produce both meat and vegetable options. There are accommodations for everyone.

    Therefore, not every restaurant should be forced to have vegetarian options and completely change its arrangement. There are many other places for consumers to go to. I believe in market positioning and that a business can define its restaurant how they choose it to be.

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