JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A vegan, moist chocolate cake is just one of the many dishes Bravo! Italian Restaurant offers off their colorful vegan menu.
“I do sell frequently from the vegan menu, our regulars love it. It’s at least daily," said Carmen McClendon, a server at Bravo!
McClendon sat down with WLBT after the lunch rush Wednesday to discuss how a plant-based menu thrives in the South.
“There’s always been a vegan community in Jackson, and dietary restrictions and needs are pretty much non-discriminatory. So we have a pretty wide group of people who purchase from the menu,” she said.
From roasted Cauliflower, to meatless burgers, to pizza -- they serve it all to accommodate for the demand.
A study by Nielsen says the plant-based food industry is worth $3.7 billion. The business is flourishing across the country, Magnolia State included.
Yet, Gallup reports less than 10 percent of people identify as vegan or vegetarian; even the most carnivorous eaters are curious.
“Local fast food restaurants and local grocery stores having more plant based options is really encouraging people to think more about what they’re eating, what they’re putting into their bodies, and being more sustainable," said McClendon.
“Companies now are just more willing to hop on the train because when you companies that have been producing -- fast food chains that have producing meat-based products for years and years and years, and now all of a sudden people are demanding more sustainable, more ethical options for their food. They kind of had to switch gears because they were losing business,” said McClendon.
As the research shows that the trend will continue to grow, McClendon remains hopeful for Jackson to join in.
“If we keep going in the direction we’re going, we’ll just become more like other cities that thrive around the country and we’ll have more options for mor different types of people and hopefully it’ll just be this culture that just kind of culminates and diversifies," she said.