The pandemic-related supply chain disruptions of the last two years have impacted nearly every industry, and the restaurant and food service sector was hit particularly hard. Inventory shortages and skyrocketing meat prices have made some establishments rethink some of their menu items and suppliers, opting to shift toward more plant-based offerings.
According to a study by Atura Proteins, 56% of food and drink manufacturers affirmed they would be investing in plant-based products in 2022. But it’s not just because of meat prices and availability: Consumers are demanding menu items to promote healthier, more sustainable eating habits.
Fortunately, recent innovations in meatless and plant-based ingredients have increased the number of options available to food service companies, which opens the door to greater consumer appeal and ultimately, profitability. If your restaurant is one of the many that plan to add more plant-based food options to their menu in 2022, here are some trends to watch for and brands to explore.
Plant-based ‘Meat’ Fast-food offerings have become much more robust for people with dietary restrictions, and will continue to be so. Plant-based meat substitutes from brands like Impossible and Beyond have made their way into chains around the world, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Panda Express.
Potato Milk Dairy-based milk alternatives like almond, soy, cashew, and oat milk have soared in popularity in recent years, and potato milk is joining the lineup. Potato milk by the Swedish brand DUG is currently only available in Europe, but is on its way to the United States.
Jackfruit Jackfruit’s neutral taste, as well as its texture, versatility, and nutrition, makes it a wonder-fruit that can be adapted to many recipes that traditionally call for meat products. Vegan chefs and restaurateurs have contributed to the global growth of jackfruit over the last two years specifically, and now large chains are beginning to tap into the trend. For instance, in late 2020, Papa John’s began using it as a pepperoni alternative in the Netherlands vis a partnership with UK-based company Jack & Bry.
Vegan Eggs Already in the United States but launching in the UK at the end of 2021 and into 2022, JUST Egg is an egg alternative that can be used seamlessly as non-vegan eggs can be, with french toast, baking, breakfast scrambles, and more. JUST egg isn’t the first of its kind, either (though it is the most popular). Other brands include Crack’d liquid egg replacer, OGGS aquafaba, Follow Your Heart powdered eggs, and Crafty Counter’s hard-boiled egg alternative WunderEggs.
Plant-based Chocolate While vegan chocolate has been on the market for some time now, big-name candy companies have been getting on the bandwagon. Cadbury unveiled its new Plant bar, which is made from a blend of cocoa, almond paste, and rice extract. Nestle also recently unveiled KitKat V, a vegan KitKat whose dairy-free chocolate was made with a rice-based milk alternative and the brand’s signature crisp wafer. Since September, Hershey has been trialing its new oat milk-based chocolate bar “Oat Made” across the United States and will continue until June 2022.
Plant-based Cheese Alternatives For consumers with a lactose sensitivity and other dietary restrictions, plant-based cheese has transformed the eating and cooking experience. Restaurants that offer dishes made with cheese alternatives like Oddlygood’s tasty cheddar- and mozzarella-style plant-based products can recreate their favorite dishes in a format that appeals to a wider range of palettes and diets.
With so many new plant-based trends on the horizon, it’s important to diversify your offerings. If you’re looking to add more choices to your restaurant’s menu, check out Oddlygood’s lineup of plant-based products today.