Are you catering for Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movement?

These days, food intolerances, allergies and diets are the norm rather than the exception. Whilst pub and restaurant menus are changing to meet consumer demand, many are simply missing a trick.

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Photo credit: Pret A Manger

Being vegan is not a fad. As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, the plant based food boom will only continue.

Some 542,000 people aged 15 or over – more than one per cent of the population – have adopted a plant-based diet, up from 150,000 in 2006. According to the Vegan Society, the survey proves that veganism is now one of Britain’s “fastest growing lifestyle movements”.18 May 2016

So what exactly is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet excludes meat, seafood and dairy, as well other foods produced using animals, such as honey, and wines, beer and cider filtered using animal products.

How is society adapting?

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Photo credit: Jamie Oliver

Many supermarkets have stepped up to the change in attitudes and now stock own-brand vegan products, and increasing numbers of high street restaurants and cafes are offering vegan friendly meals. Recently, sandwich and salad chain Pret A Manger announced one of its Soho branches would only offer vegan and vegetarian food during a month-long experiment in June. The experiment was so successful that the branch continued its veggie push throughout the summer and are now planning more veggie only store openings in the future. You can check out their menu here.

Other great resources for simple vegan recipes include Jamie Oliver,  and the Vegan Recipe Club.

So how should you cater for this growing demand? Here are our tips.

  1. If you already offer some vegetarian options, why not kill two birds with one stone by making them vegan too.
  2. Go for broad appeal dishes. Many meat eaters will also choose a vegan or veggie meal if you make it appealing. Leave out the Quorn or other meat substitutes. Veggies taste great by themselves!
  3. Stick to ingredients you know. Don’t over complicate things. If Pizza’s your specialty then have a Vegan Pizza on the menu. It’s so easy to have a tomato topping with lots of lovely veggies on.
  4. Soups and salads are an excellent place to start. By serving butternut soup instead of a chicken soup, you are already appealing to a much broader market. A simple avocado and tomato salad is also a big hit no matter what your dietary preference.
  5. You don’t suddenly need to have an expertise in tofu & chia seeds to create a vegan menu! Grains such as couscous, bulgur wheat and quinoa are now part of our everyday diets. Why not create a simple roasted vegetable or mixed bean couscous.
  6. Curry! Curry is an excellent choice for the vegan eater and an easy addition to your menu. Try cauliflower and chick pea or a red lentil dahl.
  7. There are some excellent vegan burgers on the market now, and it’s an easy fix! Why not serve it with some sweet potato fries for extra points!
  8. Don’t forget the drinks! Go the extra mile and make sure you are stocking a vegan friendly wine and promote it!
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Photo credit: Vegan Recipe Club

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