What’s the 411 on F&B? Hint: It’s Growing in Popularity

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Gone are the days when anyone trying to cut back on meat and dairy was served a bowl of salad with more salad on the side. Today’s plant-based dishes look and taste like the finest cuisine, while fitting in with health and wellness goals. And meeting F&B services have been taking note.

According to research conducted by food services giant Aramark earlier this year, the vegans and vegetarians who had been leading the demand for animal-free items over the last few decades are now being joined by a majority of all consumers in being interested in trying plant-forward options. And they expect them to be included in menu offerings— including at meetings and events—though added to, not to the exclusion of, meat and dairy.

In fact, 80% of respondents to the Aramark survey said they’d be willing to try even totally unfamiliar plant-based foods, mainly due to personal health reasons. And the younger your attendees, the more they’re interested in adding plant-based items to their diet: almost 70% of millennials say they want to eat a more plant-forward diet, followed by Gen Z at 65%, Gen X at 63% and Boomers+ at 52%.

Meanwhile, an increasingly large percentage of the population is identifying as “flexitarian,” i.e., choosing to intentionally replace meat and dairy with plant-based alternatives to some degree. Foodservice is among the fastest growing sectors for plant-based product innovation and food being served at events is likely to follow that trend.

Take a look at some of the options you can ask your F&B team for, based on input from Prevue consultants.

  • Marinated mushrooms of different varieties offer a delicious, juicy, meat-like mouthfeel while offering a myriad of health benefits. The solutions may be simpler than you think, with many ingredients already existing in the kitchen and just needing that extra touch of culinary creativity to morph it into an appetizing menu option.
  • The humble cruciferous cauliflower has made it way into everything from risotto to pizza crust the last few years, and its versatility makes it an excellent base for many main courses. For something unique, talk with your catering team about preparing cauliflower “steaks”—when cooked properly, they mimic the taste and texture of meat but are much lighter.
  • Vegan has gone deliciously mainstream. Ask your team to try vegan lasagna rolls with vegan ricotta cheese, red peppers, and thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash all rolled in a brown rice lasagna noodle topped with a mushroom Bolognese sauce.
  • Bowls are another great option. Taco bowls, grain bowls, Asian rice or noodle bowls … these items are great because they are customizable and easily prepped, while using many ingredients that would already be on a traditional lunch menu. Think quinoa or rice with veggies, beans, salsa and guacamole—a satiating, energizing meal for a flexitarians and vegetarians alike. For protein options, think about adding some seasoned tempeh or sliced seitan as a bowl topping.

You May Also Be Interested In. . .

Are You Ready for the Rise in Plant-Based F&B?

5 Fresh Plant-Based F&B Ideas

F&B Tips From a Meeting Pro

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