Plant-based dining is on track to be the foodservice trend of the year. Whether consumers are exclusively non-meat eaters or identify more with a flexitarian lifestyle, plant-based meals provide an appealing platform for bold flavors, ethnic inspiration and colorful “Instagram-worthy” presentation. Plant-based cuisine encompasses vegetables, legumes, ancient grains, “faux meats,” non-dairy milks, and more; there isn’t a set definition of what the term “plant-based” truly means. In fact, 59% of consumers consider plant-based food to be either vegetarian or vegan, but a full 33% of consumers say that plant-based meals can contain some meat.
Vegetable-forward takes on already popular dishes are a great way to adapt this trend to your menu. For example, carb substitutes like cauliflower rice or zucchini spaghetti are growing in popularity – 61% of chefs say they’re a hot trend. Jackfruit is making a splash in the alternative-meats world due to its texture (like pulled pork) and mild flavor that plays well with curry and barbecue sauce. The fruit has demonstrated impressive growth of +75% on menus over the past four years.
Patrons of all ages have made the choice to cut back on animal products – for reasons ranging from personal health to environmental sustainability. The trend shows no signs of slowing in foodservice, and many consumers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) say they’re willing to pay a premium for certain plant-based dishes such as veggie burgers. Utilizing both fresh and ready-to-use ingredients, operators can capitalize on this opportunity while showcasing culinary creativity.
Content courtesy of Conagra Foodservice