The growing demand for vegan dishes in places is phenomenal

Adam Simpson, Marketing Director at etc.venues, explores the popularity of vegan dishes and shares what makes them appealing.

Popularity of vegan dishes

The increase in demand from delegates for vegan dishes is phenomenal and presents a major new challenge for room chefs and F&B managers.

The number of vegan dishes etc. served has doubled over the past 12 months in venues that have remained open to provide essential training, meetings and workspace, and our chefs have developed new dishes to increase the range of choices on menus. However, since 2018, there has not been a significant increase in the proportion of consumers who identify as vegan. The growing demand is actually an addition to the appeal of vegan dishes that many people choose as their preferred option.

A look at what the UK public buys in supermarkets and research reveals the remarkable growth of this burgeoning trend. Mintel reports that sales of meatless foods increased by 40%, from £582 million in 2014 to around £816 million in 2019. The proportion of meat eaters who reduced or limited the amount of meat they consume has risen from 28% in 2017 to 39% in 2019. Additionally, 25% of evening meals in the UK are now vegan or vegetarian.

What makes a good vegan dish?

Now the challenge for room managers is to stay one step ahead of this trend. But not all vegan dishes are the same, and it’s important that the dish goes beyond just ticking the box.

Malik Fseil, Executive Chef at etc.venues County Hall shares what he considers to be the three essential elements of a great vegan option: “First, it must have all the right balanced nutritional values ​​to be healthy. This includes proteins, dairy alternatives and carbohydrates.

“Second, the dish should not feel like an alternative or substitute. Some of the great traditional meat dishes can be as tailored to be flavorful and exciting as a vegan dish. Finally, the dish should be creative and not just one of the boring classic vegan dishes you can find everywhere. These are our most creative and successful dishes. It’s easy to see the appeal of an afternoon tea option. consisting of a carrot and pecan cake, with a strawberry and lime glaze served with a lemon, mint and ginger iced tea.”

Marek Dabrowski, Head Chef at etc.venues 133 Houndsditch, explains the importance of ensuring vegan dishes are full of nutritional value and how to achieve this: “The key factor is the choice of ingredients. They should be the ones that help the body and mind function during a meeting or event. For lunches, we use plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, soy products, seitan, lentils, seeds, nuts and beans so many dishes are both vegan and nutritious. Many of the same ingredients can also be used to provide gluten-free dishes.

The challenge will continue. With Mintel reporting that sales of meatless foods are set to continue to rise to over £1.1bn by 2024, the search for appealing vegan options cannot stop.