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Vegetarian Journal 2003 Issue 1

Note from the Coordinators

Making Vegetarian Foods More Available

The Vegetarian Resource Group had an outreach booth at Natural Products Expo East, a trade show for the natural foods industry. While walking the floor, we picked up a copy of Grocery Headquarters, a magazine for mainstream supermarkets. Ryan Mathews, its executive editor, penned an editorial titled, “So, where’s the deviant?” His theme is that the grocery industry is too slow to respond to a real need for change. In other words, real innovation starts long before most people in established markets ever notice it.

Those of us who began urging mainstream supermarkets to carry organic and natural foods in the 1970s and ’80s, if not earlier, remember getting few results and many blank stares. Today, we can smile as we watch natural foods supermarkets sprout up nationwide. These stores are mobbed with customers looking for the very products we told mainstream supermarkets to start selling over 30 years ago. Supermarket chains are finally understanding the message and increasing the organic and natural selection.

At Natural Products Expo East, Debra participated in a panel discussion titled, “The Vegetarian Market.” She mentioned that another industry behind the times is mainstream food service suppliers. For years, a large percentage of college students has requested vegetarian/vegan meals on college campuses. Many college food service suppliers offer few items to meet the needs of these individuals. The food service staff is forced in some cases to buy items, such as soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and seitan, at retail prices from natural foods stores. This inefficient distribution system is a roadblock to making sure college food services keep adding and offering innovative vegetarian food.

There is some good news on this front. Sysco Foods (the country’s largest food service distributor) is premiering a new vegetarian line called MoonRose™. This line is dedicated to vegetarian food service products, both ready-to-use and individual ingredients. The items will be produced by several companies and packaged specifically for Sysco. Readers who work or eat in college campus dining rooms, at restaurants, or in employee cafeterias serviced by Sysco should encourage food service personnel to order from this new line so it succeeds.

This issue of Vegetarian Journal includes quick and convenient low-cost vegan menus. Many readers have asked us to print easy sample menus that meet nutritional needs. Special thanks to VRG’s nutrition advisor Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, for doing all the work it takes to create these menus.

How often have you purchased organic food and wondered who really inspects these items to make sure they’re organic? VRG dietetic intern Erin Crandell helps answer this question in her article titled, “What is an Organic Inspector?”

Finally, we’d like to welcome Keryl Cryer, Vegetarian Journal’s new Senior Editor. Keryl has a background in both writing and design. She looks forward to helping readers encourage the opening of more vegetarian restaurants, such as in her native New Orleans, where her mother, as well as her grandmother’s priest, are vegan.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group

Excerpts from the 2003 Issue 1:
Quick and Easy Low-Cost Vegan Menus
Eat right on a limited budget, by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.
Carrot Cookery
Liven up your meals with this versatile veggie using recipes from Chef Nancy Berkoff.
What is an Organic Inspector?
Erin Crandell fills us in.
Scientific Update
Vegetarian Action
Thinking of the Children: Project Healthy Beginnings, by Jeff Morrison.

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

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.

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