When the Raynor family eats at home, their menus include fresh and local fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and vegetable-based proteins. But when young Jamie and Alva are invited to their elementary-aged classmates’ birthday parties, they join right in and munch on Happy Meals with Chicken McNuggets or cheeseburgers. They’re flexitarians — a growing movement in which people espouse healthy, plant-based eating as a general rule but aren’t so purist as to be outliers when the social situation invites meat-eating. I haven’t eaten red meat since 1980 — but I’m not the target audience for the alternative protein market that’s on the rise. Only a small percentage of people in the US are true vegans or vegetarians — in a 2018 Gallup poll, only 5% said they were vegetarians. New plant-based food companies are hoping to entice the taste buds of flexitarians, that group of consumers who are interested in reducing the amount of meat they eat. Vegans and vegetarians like me are always on the lookout for interesting new meat alternatives — these items make eating out and designing meals alongside meat eaters easier. But flexitarians are in the process of discovery and it is they […]

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