The BIG food trend for 2021 and beyond

It's the trend that's here to stay: plant-based food. And it's not just for vegans. Is your menu ready?

Just a few years ago, most of us hadn’t even heard of the term, ‘plant-based food’. Fast-forward to 2021 and it’s everywhere, with customers looking to cut down on meat for health and environmental reasons.

Many people are shifting their eating habits to vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diets. This was compounded last year with the arrival of Covid-19 with 1 in 5 Brits reducing their meat consumption during the pandemic.

“A huge 92% of plant-based meals are eaten by non-vegans”
- WGSN Coronavirus Food & Drink Change Accelerators, April 2020

The plant-based trend is most popular with the younger generations, aged 20-40. A quarter of millennials now find a vegan diet more appealing. It’s not just vegans and veggies who want these dishes, though. A massive 92% of plant-based meals are eaten by non-vegans. This presents a huge opportunity for Out of Home outlets. Gone are the days of just having one boring vegetarian option on your menu.

Can you spot the difference?

A big part of the plant-based offering is so-called fake meat or meat substitutes. Often made from soya, these products aim to simulate that savoury meatiness in taste and texture.

Adding these meat substitutes to your menu is simple to do. More often than not, you can do a like-for-like swap for the plant products in popular dishes such as burgers and hotdogs. Pile the fillings as high as you would on normal burgers.

Vegan ‘cheese’ slices, guacamole, lime-soaked red onions and salad turn a plant-based patty into something that your customers will return for. Chicken alternatives work well in sandwiches and wraps. Try a pesto ‘chicken’ with sundried tomatoes and salad leaves.

Garden Gourmet Fillet Pieces

The importance of the name

For 63% of consumers looking for plant-based meals, it’s important to see a brand name on a menu as it allows them to look up their credentials and read reviews. So pick a reputable brand and let your customers know what they’re buying.

Two brands to watch are Garden Gourmet and The Vegetarian Butcher. Garden Gourmet’s products are vegan or vegetarian and range from burgers and mince, to breaded fillets and meatballs. The Garden Gourmet® Sensational™ Burger’s carbon footprint is 80% lower than that of a standard beef burger.*

As well as the classics, The Vegetarian Butcher has hotdogs, ‘bacon’ and ‘chicken’ shawarma. Its popular vegan hotdogs have a seaweed coating to give an authentic snap like the real deal and are a good protein source. Plus, their ‘chicken’ fooled one of the best chefs in the world – El Bulli’s Ferran Adrià – into thinking he was eating the real deal!

Don’t forget your sauces. Approach mayonnaise and dressings with caution as they can contain eggs, dairy products or fish. As well as adding vegan-friendly sauces to your plant-based meals, make sure you have some to hand to serve in little dishes with chips. Customers will remember small details like this.

Try Heinz’s new vegan mayonnaise range. There’s the original flavour as well as garlic aioli and chilli. These are great in sandwiches or dishes like patatas bravas. Smear the aioli on ciabatta and add plant-based bacon, chicken, tomato and lettuce for a tasty vegan CBLT.

Plant-based recipe inspiration

If you’d like to add more plant-based meals to your menu, try the Katsu Curry Burger and Smoky Squash Tacos. Both completely delicious with no meat in sight!

Smoky Squash Tacos with Heinz Vegan Mayo
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