Stina Spiegelberg, a vegan TV chef and author of eight cookbooks, is dedicated to educating professionals and consumers about plant-based foods. She supports the UN-awarded “Aktion Pflanzenpower” and founded the Mindful Women Network for stronger female entrepreneurs. Stina demonstrated the versatility of plant-based cooking at the Plant-based Experience, powered by ProVeg International at Fi Europe 2019.
What will you be doing at the Plant-based Experience?
“I will be introducing visitors to plant-based cuisine with a cooking show on stage of the Plant-based Experience powered by ProVeg International. I’ll be doing some French classics like onion soup and Madeleines to show how easy and flavourful plant-based versions can be.”
What interesting concepts and innovations will you be bringing along?
“The vegan lifestyle comes very natural to me, as I’ve been living on a plant- based diet for 11 years. For many people though, thinking of a solely plant-based diet as a fun way of cooking is hard. In my show I will present plant-based cooking as delicious, easily accessible and widely popular.”
How did your collaboration with ProVeg come about?
“ProVeg engages in vegan lifestyles around the globe, making plant-based diets easily accessible to anyone by sharing knowledge and linking physicians and scientists with chefs, activists and companies. I have been collaborating with ProVeg for many years now, sharing recipes and knowledge about vegan cooking and empowering sustainable entrepreneurs. With the “Aktion Pflanzenpower” (project plant power), we want to introduce students to healthy plant-based diets and motivate young people to ask where our food originates from.”
What do you enjoy about working with ProVeg?
“Everyone at ProVeg is highly motivated to make this world a better place, and it’s been a pleasure to create new projects together. ProVeg has grown to 150 employees of 22 different nationalities, and I feel very lucky to be working with an organisation where everyone is concerned about ethical and environmental concerns. The founders Tobias Leenaert, Sebastian and Melanie Joy are very inspiring people who stand up for their beliefs. This really shows in all their staff.”
As a chef and a proponent of plant-based cuisine, what do you hope to bring to Fi Europe?
“I hope to reduce prejudices of vegan foods and show a very easy and experimental way of approaching new products. Just because we have learned for decades to cook with animal products doesn’t mean that they are healthy for us in the amount we consume. Traditions, techniques and behaviour are linked very closely and can be changed in order to attain a healthier lifestyle.
Personally, I would love to gain more perspective on how food will be produced in the future, what role especially organic soil will play and how companies can integrate consumer needs of transparency and healthier unprocessed foods.”
What are some of the challenges in educating consumers about plant-based ingredients?
“The biggest challenge about making a change is the change itself. Our habits drive us to buy, cook and consume the same things over and over again. If we step in with awareness and choose to consume, we can easily make that change. The best way to introduce anyone to vegan cooking is with delicious and simple food. One dish at a time. My advice is not to overstrain oneself by setting the bar too high. Try one dish at a time, adjust to the new flavours and it will get easy, wonderfully adventurous and colourful in your kitchen.”
From your own experience, what advice would you give to food manufacturers about the benefits of using plant-base ingredients?
“Plant-based ingredients are much more durable, affordable and have a better carbon footprint. In my experience I would rather invest in a few products of good quality and taste that have a nutritional value, than a wide range of empty calories in all colours. I truly believe that what you give to this world will come back to you, and it is about time companies take their social duties seriously.”
How has consumer demand / taste evolved in recent years?
“All around Europe sales of vegan products have increased, especially in Germany where sales grew over 30% each year over the past three years. Consumers are getting more and more aware of the health benefits of plant-based alternatives and the taste for plant-based meat substitute is getting close to real meat. Approximately 20% of the western population is lactose intolerant and plant-based drinks come in such a variety of flavours, that there is a tasty choice for everyone.”
What are your predictions for the plant-derived ingredients market over the next 3-5 years?
“With vegan labels in every supermarket, consumers are not only increasingly aware of vegan products, but also open to try plant-based options. After meat like burgers, yoghurt and pizza plant-based cheeses are going to become very popular. Consumers are waking up, taking responsibility for their own health, planet and consumerism. I am convinced that vegan lifestyles will continue to grow in the following years, as well consumer demand for healthier plant-based foods. And it will be a joy to provide them with recipes to help them learn colourful ways of cooking.”