Schwartz September 2019
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A Lasting Trend

Veganism is an important and profitable trend – and one that looks to be staying.

Research shows that 29% of consumers look for vegan options when eating out-of-home*, and with 3.5 million in the UK now following a vegan diet and a further 7 million vegetarian** it is becoming more important than ever for operators to take part in Veganuary and create plant-based dishes with high appeal throughout January.

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“Consumers are choosing meat-free for a variety of reasons, with health and sustainability being top of the list – more than half of British adults now say they adopt vegan buying behaviour***,” says Kirsty Matthews, insight manager at Macphie. “During Veganuary consumers’ awareness of vegan or plant-based will be heightened, therefore outlets that show they are supporting the event are more likely to be noticed by consumers.”

Why get involved
• Times have changed – catering for vegans is now a necessity for any business, they can no longer be an afterthought when putting together your menu. Ticking the vegan box with one uninspired meal is not enough. Vegans want quality taste and variety, comfort food and bold flavours – basically, they want what everyone else wants.
• Perfect timing for a new menu – January is a great time to create a new menu or add exciting new specials to the existing one. Not only does it help creativity flow in the kitchen, but your existing customers will be impressed by your inspiration.
• Encourages new tastes – for those meat-eating customers who fancy cutting back or just trying something new, offering vegan dishes is the perfect opportunity to help expand and provide some variety for your customer’s taste buds.
• Vegans tend to dictate where their group eats out. Please them, and you will see your footfall rise.

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What to serve
Competition is fierce so don’t just offer token dishes such as stuffed peppers or superfood salad, think about…
• Offer a mix of unique and classic dishes such as fish and chips (using tofu or banana blossom), full English breakfasts and roast dinners. Omitting the vegan tartar sauce for the fish, cheese for pizzas and Yorkshire puddings for roasts will result in a disappointed and dissatisfied customer.
• Be more adventurous with desserts than a fruit salad! Sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fudge cake and Eton mess can now be made suitable for vegans and will also tempt non-vegans too.
• Don’t compromise on quality – options need to be full of flavour, taste and texture just like your meat dishes. Premium, fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are important.

Sources: *Vegan Society 2018, **Lantmännen Unibake’s Gourmet Burger Bun Brand Americana, ***MCA

View recipes: Roasted Tomato, Red Onion & Basil Blondie Pizza, Basmati Payasam Pudding, Miso Turmeric-Glazed Aubergine, Sundried Tomato & Broccoli Toasted Sandwich, Pulled ‘Pork’ Sandwich & Vegan Jackfruit Chilli

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