New Year, New Meat-Free Menus

Vegetarian Express Ltd

Vegetarian Express Ltd

Standard Supplier 5th January 2016

New Year, New Meat-Free Menus

After the indulgences of the festive period, health becomes a major driver each January when it comes to consumer dining decisions. With research highlighting that a vegetarian diet is often healthier than that of a typical meat eater*, Vegetarian Express is encouraging operators to carefully consider their new year menus in order to attract those health conscious diners.

With studies finding that vegetarians are less likely to be obese or diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes*, consumers often look to meat-free diets after the excesses of Christmas. Caterers that get their January menus right can really reap the rewards in terms of additional sales from customers that would have otherwise stayed home to combat the indulgence that occurred in December.

Will Matier, Managing Director at Vegetarian Express, says: “Alongside January resolutions, the recent announcement from the World Health Organisation which highlighted the carcinogenic properties of processed meat means there is a huge opportunity available to those operators increasing their meat-free offering in January – or even better, throughout the year. It’s essential to attract customers that are consciously seeking out a more balanced diet.

“We’re seeing a huge rise in ‘flexitarians’ or ‘meat-reducers’ – in fact, recent figures from Mintel showed 35% of Brits are now identified as ‘semi-vegetarian’ – and with 71% of consumers wanting to see lighter vegetarian options**, the start of the new year is a time to re-evaluate menus and ensure they are meeting the demands of the customer.”

Meanwhile, carefully chosen ingredients can actually repair some of the damage caused by winter festivities and replace diminished nutrients.

Will continues: “Quinoa was big news in 2015 and will continue to be a staple on menus thanks to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the fact it is naturally gluten-free, low in fat and high in protein.

However, we expect to see its popularity spread to other ancient grains over the next year. Hemp seeds, for example, are one of the most nutritious foods naturally available containing 20 different amino acids and are a great source of Omega 3 and protein for strengthening the immune system. They are a quick way of adding nutritional benefits to dishes – simply toss on top of salads and soups or stir through a winter-warming porridge.”

Another grain expected to rise in popularity is farro – a nutty cereal rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. Our Umbrian Semi-Pearled Pre-Soaked Farro has the added operational benefit of being pre-soaked so is quick and easy for caterers to prepare.

To support operators navigate the start of the new year and take the stress out of menu planning, Vegetarian Express – supplier and consultant to the catering industry – has teamed up with Paul Gayler MBE to create a range of innovative recipes which will deliver nutritious but tasty menu options to vegetarians and flexitarians well into the new year, including Baked Avocado Stuffed with Halloumi, Olives & Capers with a Saffron & Almond Milk Houmous and Tabil Charred Tofu & Vegetables with Tunisian Pomegranate Rice.

The Vegetarian Express website also contains a range of recipes featuring ancient grains, such as Spinach, Pumpkin and Farro Torte and Quinoa, Portobello & Sweet Potato Cakes with Preserved Lemon Chimichurri.
As well as providing inspiration, Vegetarian Express offers an extensive range of products ranging from staple dried goods and ethnic cooking sauces to Mediterranean deli goods and over 150 authentic herbs and spices to bring dishes to life.

*Vegetarian Society **Toluna/Vegetarian Express 2015

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