Plant-Based Eating Isn't a Fad: How Your Restaurant Can Cater to this Trend



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  • Author: The MenuSano Team
  • Published: 1/15/2019 2:41:50 PM

Vegetarian nutrition

Going green in 2019

Plant-based eating is on the rise and vegetarian and veganism can no longer be classed as a fad or a fashion. We take a look at this growing trend and how you can keep your business up to date in 2019.

Vegetarianism - A Growing Trend

There was a time where vegetarianism, and in particular, it’s even more difficult cousin veganism would have you uninvited from every dinner party in town. A contagious illness would be less antisocial than being a vegetarian in certain circles in the not too distant past.

Fast forward to 2019 and few menus are put together without vegetarian or vegan options. So were the previously outcast tree-hugging hippies right, all along?

The answer is pretty much a resounding yes.

The number of vegetarians has been growing steadily over the decades and a 2018 study by comparethemarket.com found that up to 14% of British people are vegetarian and approximately 7% are vegan. Additionally, 19% are eating fewer dairy products and 31% are eating less meat. 21% of UK people class themselves as flexitarians which is a term used for people that actively reduce their meat consumption and aim to eat a predominantly plant-based diet.

Similarly in Canada, vegetarianism is also on the rise. A 2018 survey conducted by Dalhousie University found that 9.4% of Canadian adults considered themselves to be vegetarians. A smaller number of US adults consider themselves to be vegetarian with the figure remaining unchanged over the past twenty years at around 5%.

Vegetarian and vegan nutrition

McCartney’s Meat-free Monday

The Meat-free Monday campaign by Paul McCartney has had a helping hand in mainstreaming the demand for vegetarian and vegan dishes. It’s also had a great deal of success in reducing the consumption of meat and gently introducing a vegetarian lifestyle.

More so nowadays many people are eating less meat in general. Rather than not eating meat on ethical grounds, their decision is based on more health and environmental reasons as well.

Many people today choose to eat meat less frequently and see vegetarian food as being super delicious. They choose to spend many more mealtimes exploring vegetarian options rather than basing all their main meals around animal protein.

For me, a plant-based meal is just a little different and fresher than a meat-based meal. Vegan and vegetarian food is considered to be fresh and delicious and not treated with the suspicion and disdain that it used to be. Many people today are not restricted in any way and enjoy the best of both worlds by enjoying meat, fish and a full range of vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

Vegetarian food owes its current mainstream position to a number of factors. Certainly, because of McCartney's campaign and also a continuing blending of cultures and cuisines has helped. Perhaps a more laid-back Millennial generation, as well as a more adventurous approach to eating vegetarian food has also helped.

With plant-based eating being more popular, it is clear that vegetarian and veganism will continue to rise so what does that mean for food service establishments?

Vegetarian and vegan nutrition

Vegetarian Dining

If you wanted to eat out back in the 1970s and you were vegetarian you may likely have referred to The Vegetarian Handbook before you set off to locate the minimal amount of eateries that would cater for you. If you were vegan you would probably just stay in.

But now, there are few restaurants that don’t provide vegetarian and vegan choices. Because 10% of Canadians describe themselves as vegetarian then there is a good chance that a party of four people is going to have at least one vegetarian among them. Especially if your diners are aged under 35 where there is a higher incidence of vegetarianism.

As we discussed, many meat eaters also want to eat fresher tasting vegetarian and vegan food during the week and at other times.

MenuSano Labeling

MenuSano allows you to label your menu dishes accordingly. You can highlight the dishes on your menu that are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. You can create a section of your menu or highlight the dishes with symbols so that they can be easily identified.

By labeling your dishes clearly, you are giving your customers choice and are therefore improving their satisfaction.

With vegetarian food being such a popular trend, it no longer makes sense for vegetarian menu planning to be an afterthought. Take the time to experiment and innovate with your vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Today’s discerning consumers want a good selection of vegan and vegetarian options which are tasty and health-conscious as well. Always be super careful when you’re sourcing ingredients for vegetarian and vegan food by ensuring seasonings, stocks and all ingredients are meat or dairy-free as required.

By taking the time to create delicious and interesting vegetarian dishes you are appealing to a wider range of diners and standing your business in good stead as the trend increases.

Vegan 2019 Trends

In 2019, in terms of vegan and vegetarian food trends, there is a currently a move towards a BBQ style cuisine so check out jackfruit and vegan ribs. Beyond Meat are a company that stock a range of burgers, sausages and other meat-style products that are made from pea protein. The Beyond Meat burgers are so good that TGI Fridays use their products but you can too.

Other vegan foods to try experimenting with in 2019 include hummus in shakes and tahini in desserts. Forget almond milk, oat milk is where it’s at in 2019. There is also a move to high fat, low carb, vegan keto meals. Vegan seafood is also set to continue with plant-based shrimp, fishless sushi and fish-free tuna style products.

Conclusion

Adding vegetarian and vegan options to your menu in 2019 is a good idea. You will establish yourself as an ethically and environmentally conscientious restaurant, which can make you stand out against your competitors. Make sure you vegetarian and vegan options are delicious! Vegetarian and vegan cuisine now a mature culinary category, so there are a lot of recipes to get inspiration from. Take note of our Vegan 2019 trends for more ideas.

MenuSano nutrition software allows you to create a well labeled and easily identifiable menu of vegan and vegetarian dishes that your customers will love. You can also highlight which dishes are low in sodium, fat, and sugar or high in protein. To see how menuSano can help your restaurant business in 2019 just click here to start a free trial.

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