What exactly is vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from meat, fish and seafood.
Some vegetarians even avoid eggs, milk and dairy products.
Vegetarians replace animal proteins in their diet with plant proteins.
There are many sources of plant proteins: cereals (wheat, rice, corn, semolina, etc.), leguminous vegetables (lentils, dry beans, kidney beans), oleaginous plants (almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, other types of nuts, etc.), vegetables and tubers (potatoes, peas, etc.), seeds (radish, watercress, rocket shoots, etc.) and algae (spirulina, agar-agar, etc.).
In keeping with contemporary trends, healthy, nutritious and affordable, leguminous vegetables and whole cereals are making a big comeback at mealtimes.
Why do we need to take action?
People living in the world's developed countries eat too much animal protein. The French agency for food, environmental and occupational health safety (ANSES) therefore recommends limiting the consumption of red meat to 500 g per week and of cured meats to no more than 25 g per day. But the aim is not to cut out animal protein altogether, but instead to reduce it so as to strive for a balance between animal and plant proteins.
And increasing the amount of plant protein in people's diets means eating more "responsibly". Growing leguminous crops requires relatively little water and the carbon footprint is extremely low. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock farming is a major factor in climate change and could be responsible for as much as 18% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions. That's slightly more than the transport sector!
Aware of these major challenges facing both consumers and the planet, Carrefour has set itself the target of doubling the number of products in its Carrefour Veggie range between now and June 2019. Carrefour's "100% vegetarian and 200% gourmet" recipes contain no meat, fish or animal fats and are also made without any animal additives or meat flavouring. They also contain no palm oil and no GMO products (<0.9%).
Is this really so new?
Although consuming plant proteins is fashionable, there is nothing new about it. In fact, just after the First World War, people in France even consumed more plant proteins than animal proteins. But the balance shifted spectacularly at the end of the 1940s.
So leguminous vegetables and cereals are currently enjoying a return to grace. This trend reversal is spreading through the world's developed countries, driven by population growth, the depletion of the planet's natural resources and climate change.
However, at global level, experts are predicting an explosion in demand for animal protein: a 40% increase by 2030 resulting from high population growth in the world's developing countries, increased numbers of middle-class people in emerging countries and longer life expectancy in developed countries.
What is the long-term aim?
Between now and 2022, Carrefour will be launching a plethora of new products in its Carrefour Veggie range. The aim will be to provide consumers with as many different tastes and food experiences as possible throughout the day. At the same time, it is stepping up its commitment to product quality by introducing an even more demanding set of specifications, including the requirement that ingredients made using organic farming methods be used. And of course each and every product will still be tasted and approved by a culinary expert to ensure the most gourmet experience possible!