These days, the word healthy means something different for everyone—after all, depending on one’s dietary needs or restrictions, one food can be great for one person while being unsuitable for another. This has led to the rise of diners who follow certain diets, like Whole 30, paleo, keto, flexitarian or “blenditarian” or others. And, for each diner, choosing an item from a menu might be driven by their desire for eating better, or it might be driven by their desire to eat more veggies, more protein, no gluten or any number of other options.
For operators, this shift in eating habits represents a huge opportunity, and catering to consumer needs and desires for more plant-forward and flexitarian choices is a way to offer a variety of menu options and increase business.
But how can restaurants capture these hard-to-pin-down diners with craveable choices that taste good?
To win over flexitarians, operators should try these three options.
Give meat and veggies equal time in the spotlight
The plant-based movement has emerged as one of the largest foodservice trends in recent years, growing from niche to mainstream more recently. This is leading to innovation, as brands seek to unearth the next trendy vegetable that will rise up as a center-of-the-plate star on menus across segments. Take for example, Narcissa, a New York City concept, that promotes a Carrot Wellington dish that swaps out the traditional beef for carrot. Another way to put veggies front and center is by using blended proteins like meat that’s been blended with veggies. By highlighting veggies even in meat dishes, flexitarians may be more interested in new menu items.
Shift the way the menu treats meat
As operators strive to meet the demand for both better-for-you foods and indulgence, they should experiment with meat and seafood, which are generally consumed as entrees, and offer them as sides, too. In fact, 34% of consumers say that if they were offered, they’d be very likely to order side dishes made with beef, while 30% say the same about side dishes made with pork, according to Technomic’s 2019 Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. Consider macaroni and cheese topped with brisket, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon or greens braised with beef & mushroom sausage.
A win-win: plant-forward meat blends.
Consumers are looking to add more vegetables to their diets, but they also do not want to give up eating meat and seafood entirely. Adding a plant-forward meat blend with grains or veggies is a win-win, providing a better-for-you option that appeals to those looking for familiar flavor. According to Foodbytes data from 2018, 51% of consumers say they are interested in plant-forward meat blends. Take, for example, Burke’s new MADE SIMPLE® Blends - Pork & Cauliflower Sausage and Beef & Mushroom Sausage. These all-natural* meat blends are free from artificial ingredients and are minimally processed. They are innovative enough to meet flexitarian cravings just about anywhere on a menu. For instance, they can be used at breakfast on top of eggs benedict, on the lunch menu in a wrap, or at dinner as versatile, pizza toppings.
By offering tasty plant-forward meat blends to customers who want to add more vegetables to their diet, operators can feel confident they have something on the menu for everyone. To request a sample of MADE SIMPLE® Blends today, visit Burke online.
*Minimally Processed – No Artificial Ingredients.
This post is sponsored by Burke