Flexitarians, take heart

Compass Group announced that it was launching its “Be A Flexitarian” initiative.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

Back in the 1980s, when “The ‘A’ Team” was enjoying a run as a hot TV action series, George Peppard, who played ‘A’ Team leader Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, had a stock phrase: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

That’s kind of how I felt Tuesday when Compass Group announced that it was launching its “Be A Flexitarian” initiative. Late last year, we had signed Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., to speak at our MenuDirections conference March 22. Blatner, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson, is the author of “The Flexitarian Diet.” Flexitarians are people who try to strike a nutritional balance by reducing, but not eliminating, the amount of meat they consume. It is a diet that is being promoted by groups as disparate as the ADA and the Humane Society of the United States.

Dawn Blatner had come highly recommended by David Grotto, R.D., another ADA member and author. Grotto has spoken at last year’s conference, addressing 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.

But I had my reservations. Would attendees embrace apresentation on healthy eating by a dietitian and author in consecutive years? Would flexitarianism be considered too much of a fad diet for the topic to be a draw at the conference?

Compass Group, one of the world’s largest food management firms, has helped allay those fears. Choosing to invest time and money to promote the flexitarian diet indicates that company nutritionists believe this is a trend to follow. That carries a lot of weight.

So, if you want to learn more about this up-and-coming dietary lifestyle choice, plan to attend our eighth annual MenuDirections conference, March 21-23 in Miami, Fla. While you’re at it, you’ll be able to attend a series of workshops addressing a variety of culinary and operational topics. And it’s Miami, in March. What more incentive do you need? For more information, visit www.foodservicedirector.com/menudirections.