Beacon urges operators to consider more lower-calorie and vegan options

08/02/2018 - 08:28
Beacon, a leading purchasing consortium for the hospitality industry, has urged operators to consider their healthy food offering, following what is says is rising consumer demand for lower calories meals and an increase in veganism.

The group highlighted data from Bunzl Catering Suppliers that showed over 542,000 people in the UK opted for a plant-based diet in 2017, as evidence for the continued growth in popularity of vegan foods.

Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at Beacon, has teamed up with suppliers Ribble Farm, Classic Fresh Foods and Brakes, to offer her advice on providing effective healthy and vegan ranges.

“It is clear that consumer demand is for healthier dining options, and there are plenty of simple tricks and tactics that can be used to make a menu stand out, satisfying a growing trend and capitalising on it,” said Bexon.

“Healthy food on menus does not need to mean bland or boring, but an opportunity to offer something exciting and vibrant to brighten up a menu and stand out from the competition.”

Bexon suggested ‘veggie swaps’ as a means of giving menus a “fresh lease of life”, and gave the examples of replacing brussel sprouts with Kalettes, and swapping coconut oil with avocado oil, due to its lower fat content, as ideas.

She added that operators were not offering enough vegetable alternatives to higher calorie carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta and bread.

Courgetti, carrot noodles, butternut squash noodles and switch from a bread bun to a lettuce wrap for burgers, were given as potential plant-based substitutes.

Other upcoming trends noted by Beacon included sea vegetables, such as samphire and sea beet, pomegranate and aubergine, and ‘root to stem’- where chefs use the whole plant to minimise on waste.

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