Public awareness of food allergies and intolerances is greater today than at any time in the past. In foodservice terms, this translates into a real demand for alternative menu offerings — and the smart foodservice professionals are taking up the challenge.
AS THE POPULARITY OF PLANT-BASED PROTEINS continues to soar across both retail and foodservice, more and more businesses are looking to add vegetarian and vegan options to the menu – catering not only for diners who follow a totally meat-free diet, but also for those customers who want an occasional break from meat and/or dairy options.
It’s a smart move: these days, the lack of such menu choices can lead you to miss out on a substantial chunk of business. For example, you might have a party of 10 who want a table and only one of them is looking for a vegetarian or vegan meal. But if you don’t have a selection to choose from, it’s not just one customer you’re likely to lose – it’s all 10!
While most pizza and pasta menus will already have some vegetarian options (such as your standard vegetarian pizza and vegetable-based pasta dishes), it’s less likely you’ll have a vegan offer – as vegan food is free from all animal products, including eggs and cheese. And as we all know, cheese is the key element that holds your pizza toppings together.
But with so many plant-based proteins available today that substitute for beef, chicken and even fish without compromising on flavour or texture, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that there’s even a ‘Notzarella’ cheese substitute made primarily from soybeans, which is dairy free and has been designed to look, shred, melt and taste like mozzarella.
As we noted at the outset, restaurants haven’t abandoned their regular meat and dairy-based menus: they’re still offering all the old favourites, pizza and pasta with plenty of meat, mozzarella and parmesan. But they recognise the importance of catering for a growing section of the market without alienating their existing customer base – a win-win situation for customers and business alike!
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