Garden Gourmet® has identified three key ways to improve plant-based menu options. This comes in light of research that shows more than two thirds of flexitarians are actively trying to cut down on meat.
The plant-based meat alternative brand has partnered with Julie Cleijne from the Sustainable Kitchen Consultants to produce a practical toolkit to guide operators on how to flex up menus successfully and drive appeal of plant-based dishes amongst flexitarians, vegans, and vegetarians alike.
Along with expert advice and insight, the toolkit includes handy printable posters that can be used as reference points for operating sites, including a calendar of plant-based national days and events; also included is a checklist for operators to support them through the process of evolving their menu options.
The toolkit delves into three key areas for operators to consider when building their summer menu:
- Language on menus – Menu descriptions should be evocative and eye-catching, and above all they should entice the diner into ordering. Too often plant-based dish descriptions focus on what the dish doesn’t include, rather than what it does. Operators need to be wary of this and consider all the reasons diners might be choosing something plant-based and cater menu wording accordingly.
- Staff engagement – From the chefs making the food, to the waiting staff out front, it’s important to remember that if everyone believes plant-based dishes can be great, customers will buy into this too! See tips for how to get team members on board to ensure success of plant-based dishes.
- Marketing and awareness building – There are plenty of ways for operators to shout about plant-based offers, whether through online groups, across social media, or in-house via pointers towards vegan drinks offers or dairy-free menu items.
Rohini Alam, Category Manager for Savoury Food at Nestlé Professional comments: “Research has shown that 45% of meat-eaters aged 25–34 have cut down their meat consumption in recent months. This, coupled with the fact that the number of Brits adopting a vegan diet in 2020 skyrocketed by 40% shows that the demand for plant-based dishes in the out-of-home sector is growing at pace. We know lots of consumers like eating meat; they like the flavour and the texture – our products are designed to deliver this same experience. It doesn’t have to be a case of missing out if you are opting for tasty meat-free alternatives!”
Expert consultant and toolkit partner Julie Cleijne, founder of the Sustainable Kitchen Consultants, adds: “Consumers are increasingly seeing the link between what they eat, their health & the health of the planet, and making conscious food choices as a result. Recent research shows only a dedicated subset of consumers are fully committed to having zero animal products in their diet, with more wanting to reduce their intake, rather than fully remove animal products completely – i.e., flexitarian rather than fully plant-based. So, it makes good commercial sense for operators to make sure their menu offering can cater to as many customers as possible, with some great plant-based options to choose from.”
Garden Gourmet offers consumers nutritious and more sustainable plant-based alternatives to conventional meat dishes. Plant-based diets represent a major opportunity to help reduce the environmental footprint of the food system. The range includes products such as plant-based burgers, mince, meat-style balls, and fillet pieces which are all versatile enough to be used in a selection of dishes. The cook-from-frozen format means minimal food waste for operators, and, in addition to this Garden Gourmet has challenged itself to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022, accelerating its ambition to make the world a better place while enjoying great food.
To download the free #FlexUpYourMenu toolkit for visit: www.nestleprofessional.co.uk/plantbasedtoolkit
 YouGov, Is the Future of Food Flexitarian, 2019
GARDEN GOURMET – ® Reg. Trademark used in agreement with the Trademark owner
 Menu Trends UK, Mintel, January 2021