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Growth of Vegetarian Menu Options in Foodservice

Mary Sell
Mary Sell | May 21, 2015

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WhyVegetarian
The wants and needs of our population continue to diversify in foodservice industries. Many establishments are finding that this diversification means there is a need to diversify their menu. One of the ways to diversify is to include vegetarian options. Even for senior living establishments, offering such customer preferences is a necessity in order to continue to remain a relevant and marketable dining program. 

VegetarianDiets
vegan
Also known as strict vegetarian. Diet excludes all animal products including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and products derived from animals such as honey or gelatin.
Lactovegetarian
Diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and eggs but allows dairy products.Lacto-ovovegetarian
Diet excludes meat, poultry and fish but allows eggs and dairy.Flexitarian
Diet is considered semi-vegetarian with a focus on consumption of vegetarian food with occasional meat, poultry or fish consumption. 

CommonVegetarianIngredientsFoods
Legumes
Includes beans, lentils, peas and peanuts.
Soybean
Legume used to make a number of vegetarian and vegan substitutions for meat, dairy and eggs.Soymilk
Milk-like product made from soybeans. 
Tempeh
Replacement for meat made from fermented soybeans.TexturedVegetableProteinTVP
Commonly used as a substitute for ground beef. Derived from soy flour.
Tofu
Replacement for meat, eggs and cheese made from curdled soymilk and pressed into blocks.

VegetarianMenuTips
•Know what types of vegetarians your clients are. If you don’t have anyone requesting a strict vegetarian diet, you might start by offering a flexitarian diet to allow for more entrée options. 

•Ask your vegetarian clients what foods they enjoy, and collect their favorite vegetarian recipes.

•Find key vegetarian ingredients and products you want to serve.

•Train staff on how to identify ingredients that would indicate if an item is vegetarian or not.

•Be creative with salad, soup, pasta and sandwich menus that feature vegetarian options.

•Identify vegetarian options on your menu with a symbol such as a “V” to make it easy for diners to identify.

•You might start your vegetarian options on a smaller scale by offering Meatless Mondays with vegetarian options available at all Monday meals.

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VegetarianItems

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