It’s no secret that plant-based menu sales have risen tremendously over the years. With the wave of consumer demand seeking plant-based alternatives for health-related reasons, or out of good conscience for the environment, solutions are increasingly sought out.
As a result of this, more chefs and operators are creating new plant-based menu items that feature a variety of next-generation plant-based products.
According to Foodable Labs’ July reporting, the latest wave plant-based trends have caused is in the form of 78.4 percent increase in social mentions by consumers in the past year, talking about plant-based menu items.
Due to more menus adapting, eating out is now becoming easier for consumers who are vegan or just have an interest in trying plant-based meals. So much so, that 51.3 percent of chefs are adding vegan items to their menus.
“People are starting to realize that ‘flipping the plate’ from animal protein to focus more on plant-derived ingredients like vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes can have many benefits,” said Jen VanDewater, Vice President, Health, Authenticity and Sustainability for Rich Products.
“Plant-forward menu options are delivering on consumers’ increased interest in foods that are not only delicious and satisfying but also good for the body and the environment.”
Foodable recently covered how this growing trend is particularly affecting dairy. It has been reported that the dairy-alternative market is expected to exceed $24 billion USD within the next eight years.
So, how can staple menu items that include dairy-based ingredients be modified? Tried and true favorites like creamy soups, dressings, sauces, and desserts can prove to be a struggle when looking for an alternative that can hold up in comparison to the dairy-based menu item.
Here are two points to look out for when replacing your dairy products:
Healthier Alternative with a Similar Taste
The key to appealing to both plant-based consumers and non-diet-restrictive consumers is to continue offering classics like tomato bisque, or deliciously sweet and creamy desserts, but finding an alternative they’ll both love.
“What I like best about it is that you can’t tell it’s non-dairy. I’ve made cream-based soups using plant-based cooking creme and heavy cream and had customers try to tell which was which and they couldn’t. It’s such a great tool for chefs to use who want to make cream/milk-based sauces, soups, and dishes and want to hold them for extended periods of times,” said Culinary Manager for Rich Products, Chef Ben Guggenmos.
Using an ingredient like a plant-based cooking creme can allow you to expand options for more dietary restrictive consumers like those who suffer from allergies, are gluten concerned, or practice kosher and halal diets.
“It’s such a unique and innovative product in that it offers a dairy alternative to those with food allergies, vegans, kosher, halal, and chefs looking for a durable alternative to cream,” said Guggenmos. “It’s the first dairy alternative that I’ve tried that truly has the mouthfeel of heavy cream.”
With one simple ingredient change, like a liquid dairy replacement, your recipes can be a part of “better for you” concept menus that have seen an increase in restaurant traffic by 9.4 percent year over year.
Not just limited to restaurant menus, college cafeterias have also taken on “better for you” concept menus. Texas-based, Southwestern Adventist University takes pride in serving its students with healthful cooking traditions and even offer vegetarian and vegan options.
The university plans on using Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme in a variety of their recipes, including creamy dressings, vegetable lasagna, alfredo sauce, and mushroom soup.
What about sweet treats? They can be healthier too. Take it from Moxie, a full-service, plant-based restaurant. They currently utilize Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme in their signature “Butter Popcorn Vegan Ice Cream”!
Versatile and Cost Effective
Making menu changes to meet a plethora of consumer dietary demands can be daunting. But with an alternative ingredient similar to what’s being replaced, versatility is the way to go.
An added bonus to utilizing an ingredient like Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme, is how cost effective it is to have in the kitchen.
Since there are a variety of ways to use the cooking creme, the possibilities for your menu items are almost endless. On its own, Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme serves as a substitute for heavy cream, but can be diluted with water to match other dairies, all the way down to skim milk.
Considering that a product, like Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme, can be modified to match another ingredient you may need in the kitchen it not only helps you to be cost effective through cross utilization but also to continue to stay on trend with better-for-you dishes.
When looking to provide your guests with a plant-based dish that doesn’t stray far from the original, Rich’s Plant Based Cooking Creme could be considered a reliable ingredient in the non-dairy category.
[Editor's Note: This is a sponsored post.]