Vegan Restaurants are Trending & Diners are Eating it Up
August 18, 2020
Plant-based menus are growing in the restaurant scene. Fresh produce, meatless proteins and nut-based dairy alternatives are the new foodie staples. Why not? With meat prices being unpredictable combined with added health benefits, eating vegan is a trend that is here to stay.
What is a Vegan Lifestyle?
What does it mean to embrace a vegan lifestyle? What are the core differences between vegan and vegetarian? If you are curious about the burgeoning vegan scene, our bulk wholesale food store is here to give you the scoop.
Vegan vs Vegetarian
Veganism and vegetarianism share a main philosophy: to avoid eating meat. While vegetarians still incorporate some animal products like eggs and dairy into their diet, vegans have a strict no-animal products policy. This means any ingredients that come from an animal, such as cheese, eggs, milk, and in some cases, honey, are off the table.
What Do Vegans Eat?
If you are a hardcore carnivore, the thought of a meal without meat as the main attraction might seem limiting. In reality, though, eating vegan doesn’t mean munching on salads every day. At its core, the vegan diet relies on tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein packed ingredients like legumes and soy products, and whole grains and pastas. In recent years vegan options have further expanded. Here are a few examples of what vegans get to enjoy:
- Meat alternatives: everything from tempeh bacon, to vegan sausages, and even holiday roasts
- Dairy-free ice cream
- Dark chocolate bars
- Vegan cheese: including melty mozzarella, gooey brie, and sharp cheddar
With plant-based eating becoming a rapidly growing lifestyle, you’re likely to find more establishments “veganizing” classic meat dishes. Consumers are also more likely to expect innovative, plant-based cuisine, like those from the L.A. restaurant, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. Diners are loving dishes like squash blossom soup with smoked lentil créma, wild garlic emulsion, and sweet cucumber blossom.
Veganism Goes Mainstream
Not all that long ago, eating out while vegan meant slim pickings. Those times have changed. Just how popular is veganism now? The Economist dubbed 2019, The Year of The Vegan. In that same year, consumers spent almost $1.9 billion on milk alternatives and in 2018 plant-based food sales came in at $3.3 billion. More and more vegan restaurants are popping up around the U.S., with as many as 500 per capita in larger cities like New York. Even fast food giants like Burger King have included the plant-based products from Impossible Burger on their menu.
While there are many reasons people are gravitating toward veganism, here are a few main factors for the increase:
People are also embracing vegan meals at restaurants because the dishes are delicious and often innovative. Vegeria located in Texas, offers 100 percent vegan fare with creative twists, like mushroom “chicharron,” street tacos. Le Botaniste in New York City, turns fine dining on its head with vegan delights like seaweed tartare and coconut ceviche.
How to Make Veganism Work for You
Are you interested in developing some creative vegan menu options? Making plant-based cuisine work for you is easy. Here are some tips to help, whether you’re a restaurateur or home cook:
1. Buy bulk foods and plan your menus: Make sure you have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The more ingredients you have to play around with, the more inspired your meals will be. To save on time and money, go bulk food shopping and stock up on produce. Make sure to plan out your meals weekly to ensure you use up all your ingredients.
2. Start off small: If diving headlong into a vegan diet isn’t for you, devote a few days a week to meat-free meals. This flexitarian style of eating still allows you to reap health benefits and keeps your food budget in check. If you are a restaurant looking to expand into vegan menu options, try a meatless Monday special.
3. Incorporate technology: Track your voyage into veganism with a handy app. You’ll have all the important meal info at your fingertips when shopping or dining out.
4. Get your grocery list in order: Purchasing food for vegan menus can feel daunting the first time you try it. Make sure you have a list of vegan-friendly options on your grocery list before you visit your wholesale food store.
Looking for Wholesale Produce and More for Your Vegan Menu Inspiration?
Working with restaurateurs and home cooks alike, Smart Foodservice has all your vegan essentials. We are your one-stop-shop for fresh vegetable and fruits, plant-based proteins, vegan baking staples, and more! Need online grocery shopping options? We have you covered with easy ordering through Click&Carry as well as delivery options.