Event catering for the plant-based diet
Vegan is now mainstream. The Vegan Society’s most recent survey showed that 7% of the UK’s population now claims to eat a plant-based diet, eliminating meat, fish, dairy, eggs and any other animal-derived products from their lives.
This figure has dramatically increased in the past two years alone. In 2016, the same census reported there were more than half a million vegans in Britain, but as this number has now risen to 3.5 million, operators, caterers and venues in the events industry could be losing out on valuable custom by not catering for the vegan contingent.
With this in mind, and with Venuelior’s extensive experience, here are our five top tips to do vegan really, really well.
Life beyond salad
Historically, vegan options form nothing but a world of side dishes. Remember, veganism doesn’t start and end with a salad! It’s important you make sure your vegan delegates are getting the same dining experience – don’t let them settle for soggy leaves!
Incorporating vegan options into your menu doesn’t require anything too peculiar, however some cultures lend themselves better to adaption without having to include expensive meat and dairy substitutes that you wouldn’t already have in your catering kitchen. South Asian cuisines such as Korean or Indian create a lot of flavour from vegan ingredients like chilli, garlic, and ginger, while Central and Southern American dishes tend to use a lot of pulses and grains, which are all vegan.
Don’t make assumptions
There are plenty of ingredients that aren’t vegan and some, like vitamin D3, casein, whey or carmine, are less obvious than simply eggs or beef. Alcoholic drinks can also be a minefield, as many wines and beers use animal ingredients such as gelatine and isinglass in the filtering process, so thoroughly researching your ingredient list is imperative to ensure your delegates don’t get a nasty surprise!
Don’t charge extra
Some of the most affordable foods on the planet are vegan, including staples such as pasta, rice, tofu, and beans. The money you save from not buying meat and fish can go toward paying just a little extra for the higher expense items such as nondairy milk. By charging more for your meat-free options, you’re really sending a very clear message about your service. Don’t make it a hassle, and don’t make your delegate feel like a burden.
Your staff need to know your menu
You’ll be surprised at how many people have questions about the food, from “what’s in this dish?” to “can I make a substitution?”. You’ve spent time crafting this menu and you want delegates to be excited about it, so make sure your staff know exactly what they are serving to avoid any awkward silences or mistakes.
Discover our range of events venues and find out how we can cater to your dietary needs today!