The world is seeing a growing shift where people are open to eating less meat in their diets. Right here in Australia, we have one of the largest growing vegan communities worldwide. Nestle consumer research reveals 1 in 4 Aussies are actively pursuing a plant-based eating lifestyle. There are a variety of reasons why people are turning to meatless diets. Motivation could be due to health considerations, ethical reasons, and meat industry’s global impact.

To stay relevant and attract as many customers as possible, menus need to be inclusive and offer vegetarian products and vegan products. Customers are demanding more than just a token meatless dish too. They don’t want to sacrifice flavour and enjoyment to eat plant-based food. Kitchens that get creative and embrace plant-based recipes will keep up with demand. There are a growing number of wholesale plant-based products on the market to help, and labels are making them easy to find by clearly marketing their compliance with vegetarian and vegan diets. Once you start looking for them, you’ll see them everywhere.

How have wholesale plant-based products progressed in recent years?

Over the years, wholesale products have caught up with the plant-based lifestyle. Manufacturers are creating more mindful versions of food that support a variety of dietary restrictions ranging from gluten free to vegan. A lot of the products aren’t necessarily new but have become more mainstream and accessible like nut milks. There are even barista-friendly nut milks that don’t curdle yet froth properly to provide the same level of taste and quality that you’d expect from standard milk.

New products are coming onto the market too. There have been quite a few companies and product lines that are finding creative ways to make faux meat and fish that offer similar texture and taste while still being 100% plant based. Vegan replacements for animal by-products are also becoming more widely available.





Plant based food in Australia no longer a fad

People the world over are taking meat out of their diet to some degree. That could involve being 100% vegetarian or having a ‘flexitarian’ diet that occasionally includes meat. There is also a vegan diet that removes all animal by-products (e.g. eggs, honey, milk) as well as meat. Regardless of if customers are one or the other, the increased focus on plant-based foods is likely here to stay.

Restaurants, manufacturers, and grocery stores are rising to the challenge of offering more inclusive food. As many as one in eight food products launched in Australia during 2016 carried a vegetarian claim. In the years between 2014 and 2016, there was more than a 90% increase in the number of food products launched carrying a vegan claim.

If you haven’t reviewed your menu recently, take the time to see what you are offering your customers. Consider how you can elevate plant-based meals in your restaurant. Do you have more than a token vegetarian meal? Is it healthy or full of carbs and sugar? Is the description enticing? Are the dishes that are vegan and vegetarian friendly clearly marked to make it easy for customers to navigate the menu?