Introduction to Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism has gone mainstream.

It is no longer the bland bastion of an anti-carnivore subculture and fussy eaters.
Plant-based foods, vitamins, supplements, skin care, cosmetics, have become the darlings of the media, celebrities' lifestyles, and the most savvy of our citizenry. Vegetarianism has become the proud symbol of a conscientious consumer.
These are not just committed 'purist' vegetarians (or vegans), but include a dedicated group of aware 'spillovers' who are interested in healthy living through consumption of meatless meals and products. The benefits of vegetarianism range from increased energy, more desirable cholesterol levels, lowered rates of obesity, an improved digestive tract, and more. The key is moderation and balance. Adequate protein is readily available in beans, grains, and nuts. Vitamins, minerals, and fiber are abundant in most plant-based foods such as leafy greens, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and root vegetables. Aside from these vital personal attributes, a lifestyle of non-animal ingredients has a very favorable impact on our environment.*
(*Everyday Vegetarian/St.Martin's Griffin)
Just as in other dedication to our life's interests, there are many levels of vegetarian and vegan...............
There is no 'right or wrong', simply what works for your lifestyle and beliefs. A Vegan 'purist' is one who consumes nothing that is animal-sourced. A Vegetarian is one who will consume animal-sourced foods where the animal is neither harmed nor killed.
Our former President Clinton boldly classified himself as a 'Vegan', yet readily admitted to eating salmon occasionally.
However the level of commitment works for you, your ethics, interest, and your moral compass, than so be it. Any level of observance is welcomed and appreciated. Some 82% of consumers who eat gluten-free foods have not been diagnosed with celiac disease.(Mintel, 9/14) About 38% eat gluten-free foods because they believe it is better for their overall health.
Approximately 7% of consumers identify themselves as vegetarians, howerver 36% indicate the use of meat alternatives. (Mintel, 6/13). More than half (51%)of users believe they are healthier than real meat. The FDA Guidelines regarding vegetarian and vegan are a vague, grey area, nowhere near the strict rules set forth for organic and kosher, for example. Mintel research found that the number one reason people buy kosher is for food quality (62%). 'General healthfulness' accounts for 51%, and food safety reasons, 34%. Another 10% buy kosher because they follow some other religous rules. All religions, and Atheists too are helping fuel the robust market for kosher foods.
Total sum of these facts: people like to eat healthy, they want to know what they're eating, and transparency is the key. 'Transparency', as in; truth in labeling, maintaining a trustworthy brand, and having valid, strong certifications. We have become a nation of label readers. Consumers demand clarity, words and ingredients they can understand.
Consumers increasingly have faith in strong third-party endorsements. This is the essence of any certifying agency.
Doing ethical business today requires companies to 'speak' to their customer base.
The more open, forthright, and ethical you present your brand, the greater value it will have.
The AVA is here to support your brand, your integrity, your products, your efforts.
We fully stand behind our coveted certification.
The AVA 'CERTIFIED' logo appears on a wide variety of products marketed in over thirty-five countries.
The AVA 'Recommends' ethnic restaurants in the U.S., certifies vitamins in India, supplements in Hong Kong,
the highest quality skincare from Malaysia, mineral oils in the U.S., smoothie blends from California, and the list goes on.
Most of our valued AVA Members have maintained their certification since they joined our program.
Our attrition rate is less than two-percent.
The AVA is most proud of the fact that we decline approximately twenty-percent of submitted applications,
due to 'non-compliance' of ingredients, processes, or products.
The AVA is extremely protective of our 'benchmark' status.
Our uncompromising high certification standards has been the key to our enviable reputation.
Our goal since our inception has been to be; 'The recognized standard of vegetarian assurance'.
The mission of the AVA is to provide a widely recognized certification program which will enable vegetarian and vegan-minded people to make accurate consumer choices, being certain they can be confident in their selection and that of the manufacturer's claims.