Forecasts, reports and feedback on demand for veg options

Recent foodservice forecasts and other reports, along with the personal feedback we’re getting from foodservice directors, all highlight the rise in demand for vegetarian/vegan options in mainstream eateries.  Many people also want these options because they translate to choosing a healthier meal (with no cholesterol and far less fat, for starters.)  We are posting references to some of these items on our Facebook page. Here’s a compilations of some recent posts:

“More than seven out of 10 consumers say they are trying to eat healthier at restaurants now than they did two years ago; women more so than men (75 percent vs. 66 percent). Similarly, about three-quarters of consumers say healthy menu options are an important factor when choosing a restaurant (80 percent of women vs. 71 percent of men).” From the National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Industry Forecast, released 12/11/12

“Our research suggested that our fans were seeking more vegetarian options. They have been some of our best sellers.” James Nolan, Gillette Stadium’s senior vice president of operations, administration, and finance (quoted in the Boston Globe.)

We helped to facilitate Field Roast Grain Meat products at the 49ers’ Candlestick Park this year. We’ve been told that they are doing better than any other brand offered there in the past and that their specialty burgers are a particular favorite, even among meat eaters.

#4 of the 2013 Top Ten Food Trends: “Veggies take over the plate: No longer prepared as just a side or salad, vegetables will get their chance to star as the main dish.” (Per the Sterling-Rice Group, a brand strategy firm)

Veggie Happy advocates for flexitarians as much as it does for vegetarians and vegans. Demand is why. Here’s another article on the subject: “Meat Eaters Lead Rise in Vegetarian Options.”

Cleveland Indians’ Progressive Field tells us they saw a 10% increase in sales after we facilitated Field Roast Grain Meat frankfurters to replace other veggie dogs in mid-season.

“More students align themselves along the less-meat to meatless spectrum, including flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan and raw diets.” – From article,“College aged millenials shaping foodservice trends” in Pizza Marketplace (an industry website)

Join us on our Facebook page to read more interesting citations along with fun bits of news and other updates.


Turkey Talk on Thanksgiving

People often refer to Thanksgiving as “turkey day” because of the traditional holiday meal.  With this in mind, we thought we’d talk some turkey.  We offer some quick facts, a couple of stories, and a few menu ideas for a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

First, some quick facts. (Bolded text is for emphasis.)

From The National Turkey Federation: “In 2011, more than 248.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 219 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter.  Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.”

From the Humane Society of the United States (quoting a prominent poultry researcher:) “Two decades ago the goal of every grower was to ensure that the flock grew as rapidly as possible. However, the industry has developed a broiler that, if grown as rapidly as possible, will achieve a body mass that cannot be supported by the bird’s heart, respiratory system or skeleton. The situation has forced growers to make a choice. Is it more profitable to grow the biggest bird possible and have increased mortality due to heart attacks, ascites, and leg problems, or should birds be grown slower so that birds are smaller, but have fewer heart, lung and skeletal problems?…A large portion of growers’ pay is based on the pound of saleable meat produced, so simple calculations suggest that it is better to get the weight and ignore the mortality.” 

Now, some turkey rescue stories.

In 2001, we participated in a turkey rescue in Los Angeles that was coordinated by Farm Sanctuary.  It was en emotional experience, gathering up 100 huge and frightened turkeys from an auto parts salvage yard, where they’d been set free for what was to be “The Great American Turkey Hunt,” allowing anyone who paid 25 cents the opportunity to take home the first one they were able to grab.  (These birds had been purchased from a factory farm.) Animal control officials ordered the owner of the yard to cease and desist from the promotion just two days before it was to happen. Farm Sanctuary offered to rescue them and after some deliberation, the owner of the yard relented.

It was a harrowing experience, getting a hold of the frightened turkeys throughout the salvage yard.  Due to factory farming, some of the turkeys were unable to walk due to the burden of the unnatural weight on their now broken legs, while others were very sick and needed immediate veterinary assistance.  Ultimately, however, it was a heart warming experience, as all the volunteers helped to place the rescued birds on secured patches of hay inside a semi truck trailer headed to the Orland sanctuary.  At the sanctuary, they’d be cared for and given a chance to live out the rest of their natural lives with plenty of space to roam and loads of  love to go with it. (Check out Farm Sanctuary’s page on some of the ways you can help to make a difference for turkeys.)

On the subject of turkey rescues, here’s an uplifting video taken earlier this year at Safe Haven Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York:

And finally, the great news. 

You can go without a turkey and still experience a tasty, filling and traditionally themed Thanksgiving meal.  There are plenty of great menus/recipes to choose from.  The November/December issue of VegNews Magazine has several pages of holiday feast recipes (for a traditional meal, a gluten free meal and a decadent meal)along with photos that will make you salivate and want them ALL.  We don’t see these features online yet, so pick one up from the news stands now.

Also, if you want to experience the taste and texture of turkey at the center of your plate, you can  still do that with a store-bought, plant-based replacement.  You’ll be amazed at how incredible these options are at fulfilling any appetite for turkey.   Just look in the frozen foods section of your natural food market.  (Large supermarket chains will have a few brands, as well.)  Below are two of the options that we’ve enjoyed.

Field Roast has several holiday roasts to choose from. Note that all Field Roast products are also vegan. Find a local store that provides them by entering your zip code on their “Where To Buy” page.

From their website:  “Family feasts, holiday gatherings or a simple dinner for two; our Celebration Roast is the ultimate in vegetarian sophistication. We start with a rich and savory sausage-style stuffing made from Field Roast grain meat, fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms and granny smith apples seasoned with a blend of rosemary, thyme and sage. We then surround the stuffing with our most luxuriant grain meat seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic and lemon juice. As a centerpiece, appetizer or sliced in a sandwich, our Celebration Roast is perfect for any occasion.  Available in both 1 lb & 2 lbs.”

Quorn is a brand from the U.K. It is a soy-free, mycro-protein loaf that has amazing similarity in taste and texture to white turkey breast. This product is not vegan as it contains some egg white. Available throughout the U.S.

You can also do an easy search for “Thanksgiving vegetarian recipes” online and you’ll have plenty of links and fabulous ideas to choose from.

Vegetarian feasts to satisfy your Thanksgiving cravings.  Now, that’s something to be thankful for!




Video: Veggie Happy Giants fans at NLCS Game 6

Greg celebrates the San Francisco Giants and veggie burgers at AT&T Park

(Click on the link to watch his short video.)

Greg also shared with us that his friends, some of whom are not vegetarian, love the veggie burgers there, as well.  We’re Veggie Happy to hear that!  That’s what we’re all about.  Encouraging options that appeal not only to vegetarians or vegans, but to flexitarian fans as well!


Go Cleveland! (guest blog from Cody Pike)

Me and my wife at the second Indians game of the year

Last year, my wife and I planned on attending an Indians game in the late spring.  I was all ready to enjoy what I had always thought were the only vegan options at a sporting event, peanuts and beer, but with my wife being pregnant I decided to scour the internet to see if there were any substantial vegan options for us at Progressive Field. A few minutes into the search, BAM, I found Veggie Happy (Soy Happy at the time). Let’s just say that night we both enjoyed a vegan hotdog as we watched my beloved Indians get destroyed by the Rays. Beyond excited, by the food not the loss, I returned home and sent an email to Veggie Happy.

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Cody and I am a vegan, a native Clevelander and now, I will be assuming the role of volunteer Veggie Happy Manager for the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns. Pretty sweet, right? I think so. I have been a vegan for around five years and was a vegetarian for about four years prior to that. I am a total vegan foodie; constantly prowling the local vegan restaurants and searching for great options at more traditional eateries.

But what about sports? Well, as most of you know, Clevelanders are pretty die-hard sports fans. I am no different. Sundays, the house is filled with the sounds of the Brownies and summer nights are set to the soundtrack of Tom Hamilton calling the balls and strikes. I am also the co-founder of and writer at C-Town & Down; a Cleveland sports blog and podcast.

I am excited to join the Veggie Happy team and do my part in representing my fellow herbivores. Below, I have included a number of ways in which I encourage ANYBODY to get in touch with me with comments, questions or concerns.

Roll Tribe! Here We Go Brownies!


phone: (440) 279-3033
twitter: @CTownCody

Our specialty frankfurter contest winner

Our specialty veggie frankfurter contest winner is Sam B. Fisher’s “The Ruh-Roh!”  (shredded cabbage, peanut sauce, caramelized onions, and hot sauce to taste…).

Field Roast chef David Lee and his colleagues sampled all five finalist frankfurters and posted a blog about it yesterday, which included pictures of all the frankfurters.  Here’s the photo of “The Ruh-Roh”

"The Ruh-Roh!" by Sam B. Fisher

Congratulations to Sam and thanks to all the fabulous entries we received!  They were truly inspiring.

Specialty Frankfurter Contest FINALISTS

The Field Roast cart at the Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field

David Lee, chef at the Field Roast Grain Meat Company, along with his crew, has selected the five finalists in our specialty veggie frankfurter contest!  The winner will be selected on June 1st.

The winner will get to choose either two free tickets to one of our game outings (Seatttle Mariners on June 9 or San Francisco Giants on June 29) OR a free delivery of Field Roast goodies.  In addition, the chosen frankfurter recipe will be offered from the Field Roast specialty cart at Safeco Field during our Seattle game outing.  Good luck to all the finalists!

From David Lee:
“We had a voting session at Field Roast…..and think we came up with a nice collection of specialty franks. They are presented here in no particular order.”

1.  Boston Slugger -. Veggie dog topped with yellow mustard, baked beans, chopped onions, and just a hint of Rice Mallow.
David Lee comments: “(the Spicy Bean Frank also got votes, another baked bean dog) – so lets do a Baked Bean dog, besides…everyone loves the Red Sox!”

2.  Veggie Goodness Dog – A vegan bun topped with a vegan frankfurter, grilled vegetables and hummus!
David Lee comments: ” Who can deny the goodness of fresh grilled vegetables, the lubricity of hummus and charred notes of a dog well done?  We had equal votes for the Mediterranean Dog but felt that there should only be one “hummus” dog….and the Mediterranean  has expensive ingredients and hard to get vegan feta cheese?  A’donde?

3. My Oh My! – Tofutti cream cheese, jalapenos, and a good drizzle of Sriracha Sauce. All on a field roast frankfurter and bun.
David Lee comments: “Seattle all the way….this seems extra spicy for me….but everyone voted for it, except me….so I must be wrong.  I don’t know how to curb the spice of Sriracha Sauce atop of jalapenos but with a slather of vegan cream cheese.”

4.  The Ruh-Roh -Shredded cabbage, peanut sauce, carmelized onions, and hot sauce to taste.
David Lee comments: “Shredded cabbage, peanut sauce, caramelized onions…..this one might be surprising –  is one of the more creative flavor combos.”

5.  The Bruschetta Frank -Mix the following: Diced fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper; Chopped fresh basil; Chopped garlic; Olive oil- Serve F.R. Frank on a toasted bun, smother with toppings.
David Lee comments: “Or is that frankly bruschetta? – interesting combo/idea….It is only a frank with a Mediterranean style salsa – so quite simple…but customers will immediately connect with it as most know what bruschetta is.”

Good luck to all the finalists!  We will announce the winner on June 1.

A Veggie Happy mid May update

Veggie Happy director Johanna McCloy

Veggie Happy has been busy this baseball season, consulting with Major League Baseball parks and helping to facilitate new vegetarian options on their menus. This has been the year of the veggie frankfurter! We’ve been very excited to watch the sales of the new frankfurter double the former veggie dog sales at both the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field and San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park during the first few weeks of business, alone.  SF Weekly and Examiner both wrote rave reviews about the frankfurters in San Francisco.  More ballparks are due to introduce the veggie frankfurter in mid-season and Veggie Happy has been consulting with collegiate concessionaires and a variety of professional sporting arenas to help facilitate the franks at those venues, as well.

The Seattle Chili Dog (photo by Eat in Seattle)

At Seattle’s Safeco Field, a veggie frankfurter cart is making its debut this season, offering a daily specialty veggie frankfurter in addition to a veggie burger. The cart is run by Seattle based Field Roast Grain Meat Company, which is at the forefront of this new veggie haute dog revolution.  The specialty frankfurters include the Ichiban, the Bombay and the Seattle Chili Dog (also called the Chili Cheez Dog).

The Field Roast specialty veggie cart at Safeco Field

We were Veggie Happy to be part of media day at Safeco Field on May 8, joining Field Roast chef David Lee and others in celebrating the new specialty cart. The Seattle Weekly and Eat in Seattle both wrote rave reviews of the specialty fare offered there (Eat in Seattle also posted photos of three tasty specialty franks) and the Mariners’ Magazine and other publications are set to run feature stories in the near future. (Check our news page for recent media mentions and links.)

SF Giants' mascot Lou Seal will visit us during the game!

To celebrate the success of veggie frankfurters this season, Veggie Happy is leading several MLB group game outings starting in June. We will host an outing to Seattle’s Safeco Field on June 9 and to San Francisco’s AT&T Park on June 29, with more ballparks and outings to follow.  You can read more info, watch fun videos and purchase tickets on our group outings page.  Join us at the ballparks!

We are also sponsoring a specialty veggie frankfurter contest. The winner will get two free tickets to one of our game outings of their choice OR a delivery of free Field Roast goodies, in addition to having their veggie frankfurter offered from the specialty cart during our game outing at Safeco Field.

The Bombay (photo by Eat in Seattle)

One example of the specialty frankfurters offered at Safeco Field is “The Bombay.”  Ingredients: Chana Dal curried Garbanzo beans with Mango Chutney with a grilled Field Roast Frankfurter garnished with deep fried curry leaves and a splash of coconut cream.  (Tantalizing, is it not?)

Enter our contest and submit your own specialty frankfurter concept!  Finalists will be selected by Field Roast chef David Lee on May 25.

Enter our specialty veggie frankfurter contest!

Submit your own specialty Field Roast frankfurter concept and be eligible to win two free tickets to a Veggie Happy group game outing of your choice OR a delivery of free Field Roast goodies!  The winning specialty frankfurter will also be available from the Field Roast cart at Safeco Field during our Mariners game outing on June 9.

* May 25 note: The competition has now ended, but we always welcome more ideas if you want to share them.  Our five finalists were announced today.  The winner will be announced on June 1.

At Safeco Field in Seattle, Field Roast Chef David Lee created three concepts: The IchiBan, The Bombay and The Seattle Chili Cheez Dog. The specialty frankfurter recipe usually, but not always, consists of a main cooked melange (teriyaki onions, curried garbanzo beans and spicy chili respectively) with garnishes and sauces.

Easy rules to enter: You can submit your entry under our Facebook post or in the comments section below.  Please submit the name for your specialty frankfurter along with a short description of your concept.  Note that it should have no more than four toppings. Feel free to post a photo of your specialty frank if you’d like, too!

The top five finalists will be notified on Friday, May 25 and asked to submit specific recipes for the cooked and sauce elements.  The winning specialty frankfurter will be selected by David Lee and announced on Friday, June 1.

Be creative and think outside the box!  Help us bring the Frankfurter to a new place in the culinary lexicon!  Good luck!