Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian

2019 has been dubbed the ‘year of the vegan’ following an overwhelming response to the campaign ‘Veganuary’. Veganuary encourages people to try a vegan diet (cutting out all meat and dairy) in the resolution-making month of January. This year, the campaign saw record breaking numbers with 250,000 people signing up.

This trend is not strictly driven by vegans. According to consumer research conducted by OnePoll, one in eight Brits are now vegetarian or vegan, with a further 21% identifying themselves as ‘flexitarian’ (those who have a primarily vegetarian diet but eat meat on occasion).

Understanding Guests’ Values

The reason for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet is most commonly associated with animal welfare and environmental concerns. Although this is still a key reason for many, health connotations are also a big factor. Waitrose found that people are eating less animal based food for the following reasons:

  • 55% Animal welfare concerns
  • 45% It’s healthier for me
  • 38% Environmental concerns
  • 33% I don’t like meat
  • 24% The food tastes better
  • 2% It’s fashionable

Cross-contamination is likely to be a key area of concern for guests who are strictly vegan or vegetarian. It is a good idea to keep a tight kitchen policy when preparing meat-free meals and treat it as any other allergen.

Flavours on the Rise

Having a range of hero plant-based dishes is a great addition to any pub menu. Guests will be looking for more than a ‘token’ veggie option, so try experimenting with different flavours and textures.

According to The Food People, trend setting cuisines for 2019 include Mexican, Japanese, Modern European, and our very own British Cuisine. Chefs are also embracing ‘Ugly Veg’ such as turnips, celeriac, and Jeruselm artichokes and suggest finding ways to make use of the parts that we often throw away. Waitrose also highlight the following in their Annual Food and Drink Report 2018/19

MISO

TURNIPS

MODERN MEXICAN

SOURDOUGH

HERBS IN PUDDINGS

AQUAFABA

On the Menu

Pub owners should experiment with ways to present vegetarian and vegan dishes on their menu to make guests excited to try veggie dishes and not see them as an afterthought.

With many different reasons for opting for a vegetarian meal, designing a menu can be a difficult task. You don’t want to deter flexitarians from choosing your veggie options by grouping them separately on your menu. You also want to make it easier for guests with a strict vegan/vegetarian diet to enjoy the process of choosing a meal rather than picking a dish by process of elimination.

To satisfy both, pubs owners could consider incorporating their vegetarian and vegan dishes within the main menu with a clear Vegetarian (V) and Vegan (VG) indicators. In addition, a separate Vegan & Vegetarian menu could be printed and offered to guests on arrival.

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