As the number of vegetarians continues to rise, with 1.14 million Brits following a meat-free diet, so does demand for a varied offering on menus across the country, making it more important than ever for operators to stand out from the crowd. Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at Beacon, one of Britain’s leading purchasing companies, offers advice for vegetarian and vegan options that will allow operators to get ahead of the competition, without breaking the bank.

Insight from Ribble Farm highlights that vegetables are becoming increasingly popular again due to the rise in vegetarianism and veganism, therefore it is important for operators to think outside the box and keep their menus up to date and interesting. By considering a simple swap or addition of new ingredients, operators can offer a really unique and diverse range that will appeal to current customers, whilst also attracting new ones.

The latest superfood

Further insight from Ribble Farm shows that whilst Quark has been around in the culinary world for quite some time, it has only recently been welcomed into supermarkets and restaurants. Boasting fantastic health benefits, this increasingly popular superfood has a low fat and low calorie content, but high levels of calcium and protein, making it great for vegetarians as well as health-conscious consumers. Similar to Greek yoghurt in texture and extremely cost-effective, operators would do well to get ahead of this trend by incorporating Quark into their menu offering. For example, Quark can act as a healthy substitute for full fat sour cream in everything from cheesecakes to dips and sauces.

Avocados top of the list

Insight from Classic Fresh Foods states that avocado sales have not eased since the craze kicked off a decade ago, keeping this favourite fruit at the top of the list. With this in mind, insight from Brakes indicates that avocado oil is likely to take the lead from coconut oil, due its added health benefits and lower fat content in the near future. By incorporating avocado options into menus and highlighting the health benefits, such as high fibre and potassium content, operators will be able to appeal to consumers and meet soaring market demand.

Protein isn’t just for the gym

Brakes highlights that protein isn’t just popular in the gym, but is also making an appearance on menus, as consumers opt for a healthier less processed approach to food. Ranging from drinks to chocolate bars, protein is making an appearance across the board, which will only continue to increase as we learn more about its benefits. Traditionally seen as benefit of eating meat, there are now plenty of high-protein options available to vegetarians, such as quinoa, kale and tofu. By including these in menus operators will be able to satisfy this trend and meet consumer demand.

Simple swaps and looking at new ingredients to include in menus can make a huge difference to an establishment’s offering, without breaking the bank. By refreshing menus, swapping out ingredients and highlighting health benefits, operators will be able capitalise on the latest trends, whilst also offering varied options for vegetarians and vegans, as well as those just looking to decrease their meat intake.