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How plant-based options are simplifying menus in post-pandemic foodservice

Veggie Burgers
Photograph courtesy of Conagra

As foodservice establishments get back to some semblance of “normalcy”, many operators are taking the opportunity to assess their menu —what dishes are perpetual big sellers, which ones might be eliminated and if there are any trends that need addressing. According to Technomic’s January 2021 U.S. Foodservice Planning Program, 63% of operators said they planned to simplify their restaurants this year, and part of that has included simplifying their menus. Additionally, with the rise in popularity of plant-based and plant-forward diets—47% of Americans want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet in 2021, according to Technomic—many operators are adding vegetarian and plant-forward options to their menus to keep up with the demand.

Finding versatile ingredients that can meet the demand for plant-based choices while also being used in other menu items is key when simplifying the menu. By ensuring the ingredients available in the kitchen are workhorses, operators can feel confident that a pared-down menu will still be satisfying for all of their customers.

Thankfully, the Gardein® line of plant-based meat alternatives is perfect both for attaining goals of menu simplification and boosting plant-based options. With real-meat taste and texture, low cholesterol and less saturated fat and calories than traditional proteins, Gardein® products offer operators the versatility and simplicity they need while fulfilling plant-based needs.

Here’s a few ways to use Gardein® products on a simplified menu—in dishes that can be made with or without meat:

1) At breakfast: Chicken and Waffles. Use Gardein® Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n Tenders and serve them alongside Krusteaz® Belgian Waffles with Log Cabin® Syrup. This is a simple and cost-effective way to appease diners looking to get away from meat protein, while keeping the menu and back-of-house satisfied.

2) For lunch or dinner: a The Double Up Burger. Made with Gardein® Ultimate Plant-Based Burgers and topped with all the traditional fixings, such as vegan American cheese, dill relish, ketchup, mustard and lettuce, the classic cheeseburger is a menu staple—perfect for a quick and comforting meal and easy to make vegetarian, it’s a crowd pleaser any day of the week.

3) On the appetizer menu: Chicken Nuggets. Crispy chicken—or chick’n—nuggets are a hit on shareables and small plates menus. Serve crispy Gardein® Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n Nuggets tossed in buffalo or barbecue sauce, or with a trio of delicious dipping sauces.

Find out more about menu-simplifying dishes and claim a Gardein® Ultimate Plant-Based Chick’n rebate by clicking here.

This post is sponsored by Conagra

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