Should pubs offer more vegan dishes?

It comes after Swiss chef Daniel Humm and London hotel Claridge’s decided to go their separate ways in December 2021 over Humm’s decision to focus solely on plant-based menus, like his new restaurant. – Yorker, Eleven Madison Park.

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A spokesperson for Claridge’s Davies and Brook restaurant said: ‘We fully respect and understand the culinary direction of an all-plant menu that Daniel has decided to embrace and champion and now wants to bring to London, however, this is no This is not the path we wish to follow here at Claridge’s at the moment, and therefore, unfortunately, we have mutually agreed to go our separate ways.

Owner of the Spread Eagle in Homerton, Hackney, Luke Mcloughlin explained that since it became a fully vegan pub four years ago, the response from vegan and non-vegan customers has been positive and there is a clear demand for food. based on vegetables.

A trend for meat substitutes

Mcloughlin said, “Honestly, I think Claridge missed a little trick.

“When we told people we were going vegan initially people thought it might have been a weird concept and that we wouldn’t have that many customers, but we’ve been really busy for the past four years.

“There is a trend for meat substitutes, which we don’t serve other than the Beyond Burger, everything else is homemade, but I hope the plant-based menus will become much more focused on them. vegetables, rather than looking at substitute meat products.

“If places like Claridge’s start serving these kinds of dishes, which are all plant-based and designed around vegetables, it will push the boundaries of people and people will experiment with vegetables more.”

However, creating plant-based dishes can take longer and lead to higher labor costs, which could mean that it wouldn’t be a profitable change for many pubs, despite an investigation by the Vegan Society earlier this year showing one in four people have actively reduced some forms of animal products since the coronavirus first lockdown and a 2020 study, also conducted by the Vegan Society, showed that there was around 600,000 vegans in the UK.

Karl Green, head of Unruly Pig in Suffolk, said: “The bottom line for us is that vegan customers make up less than 0.6% of our income, so it would be economically moot at best for us to offer an entirely vegetal menu. .

Plant-based menus don’t generate enough income

“In truth, this is not an easy task because the labor resource spent has, for us, never been equated with proportionate revenues delivered, but with the COP26 (United Nations Conference of the Parties on climate change), and the need to reduce methane, the need to offer vegan options are unlikely to decline.

According to a 2020 study by MarketsandMarkets, the plant-based meat market is expected to be around £ 6bn by 2025 and data analytics and branding consultancy firm Kantar has discovered 92% of herbal meals consumed in the UK in 2018. were eaten by non-vegans.

Lewis Kuciers, chef at Lowdham Railway, Nottinghamshire, said: ‘You have to respect people’s opinions and it is important to be able to adapt because if you are not you might have vegans on a table where everything. everyone eats fish or meat so sometimes they won’t come because there isn’t a good vegan option there.