Veganuary recipes and menus; the route to plant based profits
For the past several years, food forecasters have predicted veganism to be ‘this year’s big trend’ and not only have they always been right, the plant-based revolution shows no sign of slowing. One thing is abundantly clear: vegan food is the trend that keeps on trending. We spoke to Veganuary about the benefits of having plant based options on menus, and not just in January!
There are thought to be more than half a million vegans in the UK, though the figure is rising so rapidly, no one is entirely sure of the number. Veganuary estimates that at least 350,000 people will register with them to go vegan for January 2020 and our surveys show that around half of respondents plan to stay vegan. When we factor in vegetarians, pescatarians and the rapidly growing number of flexitarians – people who eat meat only occasionally – it is little wonder that cafes, pubs, restaurants, hotels, care homes and contract caterers must give serious thought to their menus – and especially during the peak of it all: January.
The benefits of adding plant-based dishes to the menu
There are some great reasons to include a significant number of plant-based options on menus. First, they are suitable for people of all diets and all faiths, and so have a universal appeal (though of course if you present an uninspired dish, hide it at the bottom of the menu or fail to describe it appropriately, it’s not going to sell no matter how great it is).
Second, health is very much in the public consciousness during January, and reducing climate impact is increasingly important for the public, too. Plant-based foods tick both these boxes.
And third, plants tend to be cheaper than animal products, and vegan foods can be great margin makers if they are innovative, delicious and beautifully presented.
What do vegans want? (Hint: it’s the same as everyone else)
- Vegans want great food
It’s not good enough that chefs take an existing dish, remove the non-vegan ingredients and offer it as a token should any vegans walk through the door. Nor should they reach for the safe option of a risotto or a stuffed pepper. Vegans have eaten these a hundred times already and would be glad never to have to eat them again. Whatever you serve must appeal to vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and meat-eaters. If it doesn’t thrill you, it won’t please anyone else.
- Vegans don’t all want the same thing
Vegans are not all the same! Some prefer healthier options that are rich in natural flavours and have fresh produce at their heart, while others want their plants deep-fried with a blend of 11 secret herbs and spices. Ensure the vegan dishes you offer sit well within the rest of your menu but don’t make the mistake of stereotyping vegans.
- Vegans wants choice
If you offer just one vegan dish – however great it is – there is no incentive for vegans to return. Ensuring there is a meaningful choice across mains, starters, sides and desserts is essential if you want to attract and maintain custom
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