A Changing Appetite
In the city of Philadelphia there are many vegetarians. In the past, vegetarianism was not a popular thing to be. Mark Mebus, owner and operator of Blackbird Pizzeria in South Philadelphia says, "I became a vegan when I was 18 years ...there was only a handful of vegetarians but now its wide in comparison to that ...". In 2008, a survey was indicated that about 7.3 million Americans were vegetarians and about 22.8 million follow a vegetarian inclined diet.
Youth numbers are well increasing through the past years that might've led to the number of businesses to also increase. "Young people tend to be open minded", says Leila Fusfeld, a tax attorney and President of the Peace Advocacy Network, a nonprofit committed to promoting vegan causes. She explains that young people are well aware of the changes that are occurring in today's society and they seem to accept these changes as well as try to "fit" into them.
Due to the popularity of the "meat-free" lifestyle, the awareness of vegetarians and vegan businesses have increased in Philadelphia. Now, mainstream restaurants that serve meat are becoming more tolerant to the vegan and vegetarian communities, and adding vegan and vegetarian options to their menu. Most restaurants such as, Maoz having all vegetarian options and Black Bird having an all Vegan options not only is attended by those who are all Vegetarian and Vegan, but by the whole society.
The peace advocacy Network runs a vegan pledge every year in Philadelphia and Phoenixville to let people try veganism for thirty days says Fusfeld, "...and theres a lot of people who stay vegan."
However, not all vegans and vegetarians have the same reasons to stop eating meat or any produce that has to do with animals. Some say its because of cruelty to animals and others say is to stay healthy and avoid health issues. "Vegetarian is healthy and it keeps your body healthy" says Felli Gao an owner of the Veggie lovers in center city
It is a big change for our society to let veganism and vegetarianism to expand so much. People who were avoiding the changes in the past now allow for the changes to happen, and completely support the new community that is occuring. On the other hand, older people are unaware of the changes and stick to their old habits. It is a surprise for most people in Philadelphia, Mebus says "Philadelphia is said to be a heavy meat city," and that it is surprise that this city is so well adapting to the vegan and vegetarian environment. "In the past I've seen Vegan and vegetarianism restaurants open and not really thrive and it seems that now when they are opening they are lasting longer." Fusfeld says and also adds on that if more vegetarian and Vegan restaurants open there will be a great support from those who are vegetarian or Vegan, and hopefully more of these businesses do open.