Entrepreneurship: are you chasing those flexitarian dollars?

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There's a name for everything, it seems.

Florida Today had an interesting article earlier this week, all about flexitarians. These are people who are vegetarians, but not really. They're flexible in how they eat. They might mostly consume vegetable, breads and pasta, but every once in awhile, they'll have some fish or maybe a BLT, and don't hold the bacon.

Conversely, if all these years you've been eating Hoagies and Big Macs, but lately, quite frequently, you've been enjoying a spinach and roasted mushroom panini or a tofu salad, then, well, you may be a flexitarian, too. But if you're eating too many Big Macs -- well, you're probably not. Or maybe you are, or at least a part-time flexitarian. There's a line that you cross, and it's hard to tell where it is.

Florida Today's writer, Autumn Shrum, notes that flexitarian has been around as a word since the early 1990s and is recognized by the American Dialect Society. So it's not a new word, but we may be hearing about it more because of the trend of grocery stores and restaurants that are ramping up their menu options for vegetarians. Organic food trend is also creating more flexitarians.

And so I started looking on the web, and as it turns out, there is a flexitarian blog. Probably many of them, but this one seems particularly well done. I found a recent New York Sunreview of a restaurant that describes itself as a favorite of flexitarians. And there are cookbooks, like this one that came out last year: The Flexitarian Table.

So if you're an entrepreneur, chef, a politician looking for a new constituency or you simply like having your fingerprints on the pulse of the nation, there you go: a new (to some of us) word and trend.

And if it sounds like I'm making fun of flexitarians, I kind of am. But just the word, or the idea that we need a word to describe centuries-old eating habits of many people. Obviously, though, actually eating like a proper flexitarian is probably the most nutritious way to go. It looks even if you're a vegetarian, you can have your meatcake and eat it, too.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale). Meatcake, sometimes written as "meat cake," is a term that comedian George Carlin made up. It's since become a dessert that looks like a cake or pastry but actually has meat in it, something of a joke dish. It's a weird world we live in.
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