Are plant-based menus the future?

Plant-based menu items are becoming increasingly popular among consumers—not just vegans and vegetarians. Not only is demand growing, but chefs' willingness to accommodate for the sustainable and healthy plant-based options is increasing, too. Consumers are undeniably becoming more interested in their food—where did it come from? Is this sustainable? Health and environmental sustainability are the new “in” thing.

As plant-based option become more readily available, people are likely to try them out. As experimentation continues with plant-based products, the flavours, and the variety of ways in which these proteins can be incorporated into meals becomes wider. People are more likely to try out new things if there is a range to choose from. Restauranteurs are also pushing for the change—with meat, a restaurant’s food cost is around 30 percent, compared to 15 percent for plant-based entrées.

Justin Cucci, chef/owner of Edible Beats Restaurant Group in Denver, Colorado, said, “If we make plant-based proteins with the same amount of attention as animal proteins, the whole plant-based protein sector will move forward.”

Some of the leading trends in the plant-based sector are quinoa, lentils, and spirulina. These options provide a recognisable opportunity for people looking to try something new. They have been documented to provide a range of health benefits and can be added to meals in many ways. Combinations of these ingredients, along with other plant-based options, are helping menus incorporate more sustainable and healthy menu options.