How can your food service operation become plant-based friendly?

plant based heart

Plant based foods are more popular than ever, and this trend seems to be there to stay. Increasingly, your restaurant or food service operation’s guests will self-identify as flexitarians, vegetarians or vegans, and ask for menu options that they can eat. Do you know what these different terms mean, and more importantly, do you have plant-based options on your menu? Rest assured, you do not need to modify your entire menu to satisfy the ever-increasing crowd of flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans. However, your sales will benefit from the addition of a plant-based section on your menu, or at least from offering a few plant-based menu options if you are not already doing so. Below are three tips to help you adopt the plant-based trend:

1. Offer vegetarian-friendly soups.
Switch the chicken or beef bouillon in your vegetable soups for a vegetable soup base, such as LUDA Pro Clean Label Vegetable First Stock Paste, or LUDA H Gluten Free Sodium Reduced Vegetable Soup Base. This way, your vegetarian clientele will be able to enjoy them too.

2. Give a vegan spin to comfort food favourites.
For example, you could replace beef with lentils in a stew, like we did in this Vegan Root Vegetable Stew. The LUDA H Brown Gravy, which is used to cook the lentils in this dish, is vegan, gluten free, and sodium reduced. Using a gravy to cook lentils is a sure-fire way to make them savoury, umami, and meaty, without any animal-derived ingredients.

3. Offer a plant-based protein add-on option.
When eating out, vegetarians and their entourage will more likely choose a venue that offers vegetarian menu options. Indeed, eating out is often tricky for vegans and vegetarians, who end up eating only vegetables, French fries or dry bread for dinner. Make your food service operation more appealing to this type of clientele by offering the option to add a plant based protein to your salads or other vegetable-based dishes. Plant-based proteins include beans, lentils, peas, seitan, soy foods, and nuts and seeds. Make the protein savoury and flavourful in a wink by seasoning it with a LUDA Booster.

Also, did you know that there are different types of vegetarianism? Being knowledgeable on that front will help you come up with solutions to adapt to their different needs and will make your food service operation more appealing to people self-identifying as flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan. Read on to find out the difference between these terms.

What does “flexitarian” mean?

A flexitarian diet is a flexible form of vegetarianism. Flexitarians eat mostly plant based, but occasionally indulge on small portions of meat, poultry, and fish. Thus, people claiming to be flexitarians who come to eat at your food service operation will be very flexible in terms of food choices and may treat themselves with a meat dish. This type of clientele will certainly appreciate plant based options on your menu, especially if they are revisited comfort food favourites, such as a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

What are the different types of vegetarianism?

The big family of vegetarianism includes pescatarians (or pesco-vegetarians), ovo-lacto-vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, and vegans. A typical vegetarian diet, which is also called ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, includes dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Pescetarians add fish and shellfish to the typical vegetarian diet, whereas lacto-vegetarians leave out the eggs. Vegans, on the other hand, leave out any food product derived from animals, including dairy, eggs, and honey. In other words, vegans follow a 100% plant-based diet.

Does your clientele ask for plant-based menu options? We can help you diversify your offering with our Creative Culinary Solutions. Contact us if you have special requests.

By Marilyne Petitclerc, MHSc, P.Dt.
Culinary Marketing Specialist at LUDA Foods


Today’s Dietitian (2015). The Pescatarian Diet. [Online] [page viewed on March 15, 2017]

Today’s Dietitian (2017). Plant Proteins. [Online] [page viewed on March 15, 2017]