The demand for plant-based meals is increasing in all areas of the public sector as people become more driven by concerns with animal welfare, the environment and health research. Vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets are becoming more popular in society with the push of campaigns such as Veganuary, Meat-Free Mondays and Public Sector Catering’s Plant-Based Week, and public sector caterers have to step up to this demand from their customers – while prioritising a balanced diet and nutritional content.
Did you know there are now over 3 million vegetarians in the UK today?
Why should caterers improve their plant-based meal provision?
1. With the increase in popularity of plant-based diets, being able to demonstrate adequate provision for plant-based meals is essential for caterers when ticking those boxes for tenders. Showing that you consistently have a range of vegetarian and vegan options available in your menus is good for your reputation and may be what tips you off as the winner for a tender.
2. For education caterers and local authorities, providing healthy and balanced meals for pupils is key for their ability to learn and for developing healthy eating habits. Increasing the amount of fruit and veg in their diets through school meals goes a long way with meeting those goals, but it can be a mission to get children to eat vegetables at the best of time. Schools are also increasingly under pressure from vegetarian and vegan parents to offer healthy, thought-out and tasty plant-based options for their children.Having a meal pre-ordering system such as Cypad Meal Selection that shows what the tasty and visually-pleasing plant-based meals look like has increased the numbers of vegetarian and vegan options chosen. Being able to see photos of what their lunch is going to look like also increases hot school meal orders overall, both by the parents booking at home and with the children ordering on the whiteboard in classrooms as well. Cypad Meal Selection lets you easily segment out vegetarian and vegan meals so that children who are registered with these alternative diets only see plant-based meal options available when booking.
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3. A simple one – plant-based ingredients cost less than meat! Using more plant-based raw ingredients and planning more plant-based meals into your menus should see your stock order costs decrease.
4. Many caterers may be concerned that adding more raw plant-based ingredients to their orders will increase their food wastage. This is easily combated through use of kitchen management software that holistically measures how many of each meal are ordered, therefore how much of each ingredient you need on any one day, and then orders the right amount of stock going forward. Cypad Kitchen Manager will organise all of this for you, and seamlessly integrates with Cypad Meal Selection, which can manage meal pre-orders up to 10 weeks in advance, meaning your food wastage is not only kept level, but is drastically reduced. Using Cypad software, you will rarely need to make more meals than you have ordered as the solution will do the stock and ingredients legwork for you.
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5. There is no denying that plant-based meals are better for the environment – UK greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 8.4 percent a year by people swapping red meat to plant-based just once a week. Including more plant-based meals in your menus will improve your standing as a caterer in the way of sustainability and being environmentally-friendly (which can also help you win sustainability-focused tenders to come back to point 1!) It may also open you up to being able to push for industry awards for sustainable catering such as the Green Kitchen Standard from Food For Life.
Plant-based diets are only going to get more popular as concerns for the environment and animal welfare grow. Ensuring you are offering a range of planet-based meals across your catering operation will keep you ahead of the game in the catering sector.
If you would like more information on how the Cypad suite of kitchen and meal management applications can help you take your operation paperless, further reducing your carbon footprint, click here to speak to one of our experienced team.