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Salad Days

Where's the beef? As if to avoid at least one of the three certainties in life (death, taxes and cholesterol), today's teens are turning into vegetarians. But the dietary switch seems less a pursuit of better health than a desire for a better world.

"Most young people become vegetarians out of concern for animals and the environment," says Sally Clinton, coordinator of How on Earth!, a youth-produced ecology magazine. "They realize that a vegetarian diet is much more earth-friendly."

"Today's teenagers are a pretty savvy group of kids," echoes Jennie Collura, president of the North American Vegetarian Society. "And they know a lot more about the environment and ecology issues than people did several generations ago."

Although green-eating teens remain an elusive group to track, the Northbrook, Illinois-based marketing firm Teenage Research Unlimited reports that 35 percent of girls and nearly 20 percent of boys think being vegetarian is "in."

But what happens if carrots lose their cool? Or if corn becomes, well, corny? Will these youngsters remain evergreen as they get older?

Clinton thinks so. "I feel they will continue [with vegetarianism] because it's based in ethics for them-it's not just a fad."

Pass the broccoli, please.

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Salad Days.

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