When it comes to plant proteins, not all are created equally. These trending ingredients have come a long way over the last decade or so. Incorporating plant proteins used to mean merely adding a veggie burger or tofu to the menu, but nowadays pasta dishes have given foodservice operators a unique way to make delicious foods that are better for the body and the environment, while still offering familiar favorites. According to Technomic’s2018 Healthy Eating report, 67% of consumers consider plant-based foods and beverages to be healthy, and those items can drive sales for 58% of them. For operators trying to offer menu options for health-conscious diners, plant-based pasta is a surefire win. Check out these four reasons to menu plant protein pasta dishes.
1. Creamy comfort foods made better-for-you
Roasted Mushroom Lentil Penne Stroganoff includes all the flavors diners look for when ordering stroganoff, like savory garlic and rich mushrooms, but the use of lentil penne instead of traditional pasta gives this dish a plant-protein boost. Lentil penne is also perfect for making a veggie-packed penne alfredo with chicken and broccoli, Spinach and Artichoke Lentil Penne (creamy and rich, just like the beloved dip) or 4-Cheese Lentil Penne.
By offering favorite dishes with a nutrient-rich pasta, diners don’t have to choose between their favorite comfort foods and eating healthfully.
2. Consumers clamor for global plant-based options
Pairing unique flavors and changing the menu up are both great ways to keep diners interested. Offering pasta dishes such as Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired Lentil Penne with Eggplant Caponata or Marinated Beet & Feta Lentil Penne Bowls that go beyond the classic pasta and red sauce combinations tap into this trend. According to Technomic’s 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage report, 49% of consumers say that an appealing menu description influences them to try ethnic foods and flavors when dining out, so all operators have to do to pique diners’ interest is highlight the delicious flavors and ingredients in a dish.
Plant-based ethnic foods are a winner, too. In fact, 49% of consumers say that they prefer ethnic flavors over traditional flavors for plant-based or vegan foods. For those diners, offering a globally inspired pasta dish is a winning combination.
3. Build-your-own pasta bars create value
According to Technomic’s 2018 Future of FSR report, 54% of consumers say it’s important to have the ability to customize their food and beverages at full-service restaurants, so it makes sense that they’d want the same at noncommercial foodservice locations as well. Pasta is a versatile dish that takes well to customization and changes, making it perfect for adapting into a build-you-own bar concept. Like salad bars, pasta bars offer diners the opportunity to add what they want and leave behind what they don’t—the meal is one of a kind and made especially for their preferences. Whether diners want lentil pasta piled high with fresh veggies and a light herb and butter sauce or they want to add savory Italian sausage, red sauce and a shower of parmesan on top, the choice is all theirs, which makes for an enjoyable and interactive dining experience.
4. Sustainability matters
Technomic’s recent Value and Pricing report found that 53% of consumers say it’s important that operations have environmentally friendly practices in place, while 57% say it’s important that those eateries use sustainable foods. More than animal proteins, plant-based foods offer sustainable options that are better for the environment. For instance, it takes six times as much water to produce ground beef as it does to make lentil penne, according to data from the World Resources Institute, WRI-WRR Shifting Diets. Lentil pasta production is responsible for significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than meats such as ground beef, pork loin and chicken.
Plant protein options are on the rise in foodservice. With lentil pasta, operators can offer these sought-after meals, and diners can enjoy their favorite dishes without having to sacrifice the desire to make healthier choices for their bodies and the planet.
We all want to offer and eat delicious foods that are better for our bodies and the environment. With more people choosing a plant-forward diet with less animal protein, Basic American Foods (BAF) makes it easy to bring together deliciousness with healthy, sustainable plant protein foods. With just 3 ingredients (lentils, rice, and peas), BAF Lentil Penne lets you serve up dishes that are loaded with flavor and the nutrition bodies need, without any of the stuff they don’t. Plus, everyone loves pasta and BAF Lentil Penne delivers all of the flavor and texture of traditional pasta with the power of plant protein. Whether you are feeding vegans or meat eaters, or everyone in between, this plant protein packed pasta enables your customers to feel good about the food choices they make. Try a Free Sample at baffoodservice.com/freesample