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Vegetarian Journal May/Jun 2000

Note from the Coordinators

Vegetarianism Continues to Go Mainstream

Debra Wasserman
Charles Stahler

As we mentioned in a previous issue, Kellogg has bought Worthington, a major producer of vegetarian foods. You probably have seen their Morningstar brand in the supermarket. Now Kraft is purchasing Boca Burger, a pioneer in good tasting meat substitutes. The company received tons of free publicity when their burgers were served in the Clinton White House.

The original Boca Burger creator and owner, Chef Max, did not have plans for spending dollars on advertising. It will be interesting to watch what Kraft does with these popular products. There are now over a hundred veggie burger choices on the market to meet the multitude of tastes that people have. (See VJ's Guide to Burgers and Dogs on pages 27-29.) If you don't like one burger, try another.

Recently, a national animal rights group approached us about their campaign to get restaurant chains to carry more vegetarian options. We think big companies all want to hop on the bandwagon. The issue is making sure that consumers (our readers) support the products when added to a company's menu or list of products they offer. We are anxious to see how all these large companies will handle the rapidly growing, but still niche markets.

With all the new products out there, The Vegetarian Resource Group wanted to again find out the number of vegetarians in the country. See our results on the back cover of this issue. We are also conducting a teen poll and will have the information later this year. Stay tuned to Vegetarian Journal.

Which products succeed is up to you. If not enough people buy an item, it will be pulled from the shelves. A product of particular interest to vegans may be Tofutti's new vegan pizza cheese. Tofutti has told a Vegetarian Resource Group researcher that their cheese is vegan and their vegan pizzas are being sold in the kosher market. The cheese is not separately available to the consumer yet, but is available in limited quantities in bulk for pizza places. Maybe in a few years this will start a whole new trend of takeout vegan pizza. Tofutti has had its ups and downs, and its main focus has been the kosher market, not the natural foods consumer. However, they have been a pioneer in innovation, marketing one of the first good-tasting non-dairy "ice creams," experimenting with a gourmet non-dairy store in Manhattan, and doing creative advertising such as having vending carts in New York City with colorful umbrellas.

On a final note, we are excited to welcome Meri Robie as our new Senior Editor. You will hear from her more in future issues. But in her own words: originally from New Jersey, Meri Robie became a vegetarian when she was sixteen and has since discovered her palate. She is an avid vegetarian cook and is currently writing a book of short stories about food. Meri studied ecology, plant biology, and English at Rutgers College in New Jersey and is now pursuing her Master's degree in writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Meri is happily derailed from her previous career as a computer technician, and is extremely pleased to be working at VRG.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler

Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group 


Excerpts from the May/Jun 2000 Issue

The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone wanting to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

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