Whilst the vegan, vegetarian and meat-free market has traditionally been overlooked by many within the hospitality industry (often adding one or two token dishes to their vast menus) the fact is that this market is becoming big business. Kitchen CUT’s Michelin starred chef, John Wood, talks about the increase in demand for vegan and vegetarian food in the F&B industry and how operations can control and capitalise on their ‘free from’ and ‘suitable for’ offering.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are not a trend or a fad, they are a healthy eating choice made by a growing number of consumers each year and the hospitality industry needs to not only embrace and capitalise on this, but must also learn how to manage and control their vegetarian and vegan offerings. The number of vegans in the UK alone has rocketed by more than 350% in the last 10 years, according to new research presented by The Vegan Society and Vegan Life Magazine. The Ipsos MORI study found that at least 542,000 people in Britain now follow a vegan lifestyle. The rise seems to be driven by young people, with close to half of all vegans are between the ages of 15 and 34. This suggests that the growth is likely to continue for many years to come. Vegan and vegetarian food is a rapidly growing sector which cannot be ignored.
With the increased availability of various International pulses, beans and soy based products the variation is limitless with a creative mind and culinary skill set. Not only that, but the launch of many meat substitute products from companies such as Vivera and Oumph have allowed an even greater choice and possibilities for recipe creation. Some simple guidelines to bear in mind when creating your vegan or vegetarian menu are actually things you should be considering for all your dishes, the rules are the same, it’s just the ingredients that are different:
Visual appeal – Just like any customer, a vegan or vegetarian customer will want their food to look enticing, appetising and well presented. Make sure that dishes don’t appear boring or bland.
Be creative – put the same energy and creative focus into designing vegetarian and vegan dishes as you would for their meatier counterparts. The objective is to tempt and tantalise and being greeted with a menu containing the ‘usual suspects’ won’t excite your vegan and vegetarian customers, meaning you are unlikely to see them again.
Diet friendly – With a bigger focus than ever on calorific content of meals, devoting time to creating delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes, is time well spent. Meat and dairy alone can contribute significantly to a dish’s calorific content, whilst vegetarian and vegan ingredients are lower in fat and cholesterol. Lower calories will appeal to all, not just your vegan and vegetarian customers.
Keep your eye on the profit prize – Vegetarian and vegan dishes are typically more cost effective to make, yet growing in popularity which is great news for your gross profit margins.
Managing your vegan and vegetarian menu
With an increasing number of new, creative companies launching innovative products to help and support vegans and vegetarians, it’s becoming easier for chefs to come up with great tasting options. Kitchen CUT, has just started working with a concept called Club Mexicana which is 100% vegan and is quickly growing in popularity. The Kitchen CUT software allows F&B operations to manage allergens and access nutritional information, so that vegetarian and vegan dishes can be simply and efficiently identified.
“Since using Kitchen CUT, we have been able to create recipes and sub recipes, manage products and view not only allergens but also any products that contain ingredients that are not suitable for our vegan offering. Kitchen CUT has made the process of making sure this information is 100% much easier and pain free!’“
Meriel Armitage, MD, Club Mexicana
Kitchen CUT provides accurate ingredient management through our Supplier Gateway. This is free for suppliers to use and provides complete control and visibility over the products and allergen data being supplied. Once approved by you, these ingredients are then available in your system to use – your chefs can be as creative as they like in the confidence that recipe contents are traced all the way from ingredient level through to every sub recipe, dish and menu you create. Everything is tracked accurately and automatically updated for you.
Embedding your menu
Kitchen CUT’s software also allows you to create easy-to-view allergen tables and embeddable menus in your website so that customers can browse and filter to see which dishes they can eat based on their preferences/allergies. Giving customers and staff this information to view gives provides that you are diligent in your management of ingredients. Knowing you use accurate, efficient software to manage your vegetarian and vegan offering also builds confidence that the information is live and up to date and not an out-dated printout from a few weeks ago.
You can keep track of your vegan and vegetarian menu performance via the Kitchen CUT automated report that takes your sales data and identifies the best performing items on your menus. This then allows you regularly asses the performance of your menu and make the necessary tweaks to this to ensure you deliver a higher level of profit whilst keep your menu costs under control.
Kitchen CUT has the functionality to easily and quickly label recipes and menu items clearly when they are suitable for Vegan or Vegetarian customers. This ensures that not both back and front of house teams have quick and easy access to dish information, so that they can recommend them with confidence to customers.
You can get more information about Kitchen CUT or a free online demo by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +44 (0) 330 113 0050
You can register for a free trial here.