Vegan News – The un-red meat Restaurants embracing new proteins


With Americans trying to eat healthier, it’s no surprise they’ve cut back on red meat. In fact, the nation’s total beef consumption is down from 27.3 billion pounds in 2008, to 25.5 billion pounds in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Clearly, Americans are looking for healthier protein alternatives, and restaurants hoping to keep customers happy need to fill that need. Below are three alternatives to beef proteins that are already showing up on menus across the country.


Turkey isn’t new to restaurant menus as it’s shown up for years as the staple of the club sandwich and in wraps, but restaurants are now embracing it in many other ways. For example, it’s becoming increasingly popular for breakfast, said Darren Tristano of Technomic. Consumers are comfortable eating turkey bacon and turkey sausage, and that trend will continue to increase.

“Expect to see more turkey introduced on menus as the cost of beef increases,” Tristano said. “I think we will see [turkey] consumption rise across the board … with [the addition of] tacos, burgers and other more traditional items. Turkey is leaner, healthier and less expensive.”

Lunch is another day part seeing more turkey. For example, Arby’s recently added a new Smokehouse Turkey Avocado sandwich and also brought back the Turkey Gyro, featuring a pita filled with roast turkey, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and gyro seasoning. Also, Mooyah added a turkey LTO in March. The Jalapeno Jack Turkey Burger is customizable with Mooyahs’s range of buns, cheeses, toppings and sauces.

Ostrich and boar and bison; oh my

For consumers wanting to get a little more adventurous try ostrich meat, which has a similar texture and taste as beef, has about 40 percent fewer fat grams and half the calories but contains similar protein levels as beef, according to

While it’s already popular in European restaurants, it’s not so easily found on American menus. That may soon change, however. Crazee burger in L.A. and Bull City Burger and Brewery, for example, both feature ostrich burgers. Both restaurants also serve bison and wild boar, which are high in protein and iron but have fewer grams of saturated fat than beef. Fuddruckers also offers buffalo, elk and wild boar burger options that are “all-natural, free-range, grass and grain-fed and 100-percent antibiotic and hormone free.”