Veganuary is no longer just a trend to jump on after Christmas. With 55% of Brits eating more vegan and plant-based alternatives since the pandemic, it’s important to acknowledge that these meat-free trends have become more of a lifestyle choice rather than just a post-Christmas fad, with operators now encouraged to incorporate more options into their mainstream menu. 

Additionally, the pandemic has also taken away opportunities for people to travel and explore the world, creating another demand for food to satisfy this desire through international flavours and food experiences. As is now commonly known, the side effects of COVID-19 can impact taste and smell – two very important senses. Creating foods that can tap into these senses through flavours and textures will increase the desirability of your menu, and capture the attention of consumers wanting more out of what they can get now.

We’ve looked at combining these two trends to help you make the most of your plant-based solutions.

Wake Up The Taste Buds

There are five basic tastes to consider when it comes to food and drink:

Sweetness, usually regarded as a pleasurable sensation, is produced by the presence of sugars and substances that mimic sugar. Adding sweetness can help compliment other flavours when used in cooking.

Sourness is the taste that detects acidity. The most common foods with natural sourness are fruits, such as lemon, lime, grape, orange, tamarind, and bitter melon. 

Salt is a necessary component to the human diet and enhances the flavour of foods. As with sweetness, the use of salt can help bring out the flavours in other tastes also, as suggested in many baking recipes.

Bitterness is one of the most sensitive of the tastes, with many perceiving it as unpleasant, sharp, or disagreeable. Common bitter foods and beverages include coffee, unsweetened cocoa and citrus peel.

A Japanese word for ‘good flavour’, primarily found in high-protein foods such as meat, evoking a more savoury sense that is often referred to as a ‘flavour enhancer’. 

Insight Tip! Look out for ‘Kokumi’ - The new savoury sensation, deemed as the next Umami. Rather than taste, it focuses on richness, roundness and complexity in flavours.

To capture the umami taste within vegan dishes our Development Chefs recommend including fresh mushrooms and tomatoes in your dishes for depth of flavour, or try roasting and caramelising vegetables to add more flavour enhancement. These recommended products are perfect for adding that extra ‘umami’ to your dishes whilst ensuring they remain meat-free!

Savour The Flavour

Paying attention to flavour can trigger the appetite. Working international flavours into foods along with the use of fresh ingredients is a perfect way to enrich your plant-based dishes. Take a look at a traditional Turkish recipe created by our Development Chefs for innovative vegan solutions for your menu: Easy Vegan Lahmacun Recipe.

They do say you eat with your eyes, and grazing boards continue to be a great sensory experience for consumers when dining. The mixture of flavours, textures and smells help add to that sense of escapism, whilst also evoking the sense of touch, with reports that consumers still love the theatre and experience that comes with sharing boards.

Don't forget about your vegan pudding offering either! The number of vegan consumers growing has caused a pent-up demand for venues to offer more plant-based desserts. Find out more about the key trends we expect to see develop for vegan puddings over the next couple of years, as well as an indulgent recipe that's sure to satisfy your vegan consumers: All You Need To Know - Vegan Desserts.

For insights and inspiration for your vegan dishes, read our Plant-based Menu Solutions Guide - packed with everything you need to help you feel fully equipped for your vegan offering, including recipe ideas, latest intel and a helpful list of do's and don't's when catering for vegan diets.




< Download Plant-Based Menu Solutions Guide

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