London’s words to me: “It’s okay to be vegetarian”

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Most of the restaurants in London, England, have a vegan or vegetarian menu. Provided by Park So-hyun

After coming to England, the most common phrase I heard from my acquaintances was ‘my face has improved’. You seem to be having a day that is no different from Korea, but if there is one thing that has changed, the stress of eating has disappeared. The vegetarian lifestyle in Korea, where rice culture is important for the past two years, has made people tired quickly. To eat a meal with a friend, it was a series of skirmishes from the stage of searching for a nearby vegetarian restaurant and selecting a menu. For those vegetarians, London is a great place to eat. London sells ‘vegan’ menus with no animal products wherever they go, and people’s awareness of vegetarianism is very high. The British daily reported that more than 500,000 people in the UK this year declared veganism (a campaign to set veganism as a New Year’s goal). The capital, London, is the most vegetarian-friendly city with 152 vegan restaurants. That’s why, before going to a restaurant and asking if it contains animal ingredients, most menus indicate whether you can order a vegan or vegetarian menu. Since there is no hassle of asking each item when ordering food, I have focused on ‘what I want to eat’ rather than ‘what I can eat’. You can usually choose plant-based beverages (soy milk, oat oil, almond oil, etc.) no matter where you go, so the range of beverages has expanded. The story of my friends in London that I drank fruit smoothies even in the middle of winter because there were very few drinks without milk in Korean cafes is being told as a joke.

Meatless cooking products section of 'Sainsbury's', a mart chain commonly seen in the UK.  We sell meat substitute products.  There are also sweets for vegetarians.  Provided by Park So-hyun

Meatless cooking products section of ‘Sainsbury’s’, a mart chain commonly seen in the UK. We sell meat substitute products. There are also sweets for vegetarians. Provided by Park So-hyun

A cafe menu at the University of London, UK.  In addition to vegan sandwiches, the cafe offers alternative beverages that do not contain animal ingredients such as multi-use containers and soy milk, as indicated below the menu, at no additional charge.  Provided by Park So-hyun

A cafe menu at the University of London, UK. In addition to vegan sandwiches, the cafe offers alternative beverages that do not contain animal ingredients such as multi-use containers and soy milk, as indicated below the menu, at no additional charge. Provided by Park So-hyun

The vegetarian life at school is also satisfactory. Vegetarian meals are served in the cafeteria, and plant-based drinks and vegan snacks can be easily found in all campus cafes. Many of the students in my department share recipes with vegan restaurants. Recently, universities in the UK have been removing red meat, which has a large carbon footprint, from campus to respond to the climate crisis, so there is no inconvenience in going vegetarian. With a large vegetarian population, the food industry is also changing. The five largest supermarkets in the UK have their own vegan food brands and are operating a section dedicated to vegan products. Tesco, which has the largest market share, declared vegan new in 2018 and established ‘Wicked Kitchen’, a vegan brand. In September last year, the company set an ambitious goal to increase sales of substitute meat by 300% compared to 2018 by 2025 to advance into the meat substitute market and achieve net zero by 2050. Sainsbury’s, in second place, has dedicated corners for the vegan brands ‘Plane Pioneers’ and ‘Meat-free’ for the 2040 Net Zero and sustainable food transition. In addition, Asda’s ‘Plant-Based’, Riddle’s ‘Vimondo’, and M&S’s ‘Plant’ kitchen are available. As access to vegan products increases, you can see people buying meat substitutes in supermarkets, even if they are not vegetarian. It came as a fresh shock to the public to see that meat substitutes were given to the public as an alternative to meat rather than special products consumed only by vegetarians. Even if the supermarket doesn’t have a vegan section, shopping here is fun. Unlike Korea, where you have to think for a long time to buy a sauce while looking at the ingredient list of a product that you can’t even read properly, here you can check whether or not there are any animal ingredients through the vegetarian certification mark on the back of the product. There is no legal obligation to label vegetarian products, but vegetarian certification by private organizations is active. This also applies to non-food consumer goods. According to the degree of vegetarianism, they are broadly classified as vegetarian (vegetarian) or vegan. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines define vegetarianism as ‘food not made from or derived from dead or slaughtered animals’. It also means prohibiting the ‘exploitation of living animals’. Representative private vegetarian certification marks include the V-label of the Vegetarian Society, The Vegan Society, and the European Vegetarian Union (EVU). It’s a minor thing, but V and Mark made the inconvenience that was taken for granted by being a vegetarian not taken for granted.

There are also sweets for vegetarians.  You can easily find a vegan corner with the word Plant, meaning plant.  Provided by Park So-hyun

There are also sweets for vegetarians. You can easily find a vegan corner with the word Plant, meaning plant. Provided by Park So-hyun

The livestock sector of the 2050 carbon-neutral scenario heralds a meatless society using alternative processed foods. With the climate crisis imminent, the shift from a meat-based diet to a vegetarian diet, which leaves a larger carbon footprint than a combustion engine, may be inevitable. The UK food industry is pursuing a gradual diet transition under long-term sustainable goals, including a net-zero declaration. On the other hand, in Korea, while riding on the vegan trend and launching vegan products, it is insufficient to improve the diet of the nation. A low-carbon society starts with creating an environment where vegetarians can practice. When vegetarianism is given as many options as meat eating, it is up to the public to practice vegetarianism. For this, the display shelves of large marts such as E-Mart, Homeplus, and Lotte Mart need to change. Text/Photo/Park So-Hyun, University of London graduate student (environmental major) Shortcut to YouTube panel-related serializations ▶ ① A British university’s declaration of carbon neutrality… What are Korean universities preparing for? https://www.hani.co.kr/arti/society/environment/1016949.html



Reference-www.hani.co.kr

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