Plant-based made easy

There has never been a better time to cater to the increasing number of Vegans, Vegetarians, Flexitarians, and Reducetarians (yes – that seems to be the new word for those looking at reducing their meat intake!).

While paring-down menus and controlling inventory because of the impact of Covid-19, the challenge for operators is to make sure these selections are broadly appealing, not only to those looking for special dietary requirements but to all diners.


Demand for Plant-Based options is growing:

It’s impossible to deny the rapid increase in plant-based eating taking place across NZ and the globe. Naturally, this means seeing more and more requests for plant-based options in the hospitality industry.

This way of eating is ideal for most as it is more flexible and not so restrictive.

People who eat a mainly plant-based diet may still choose to eat small amounts of meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy (also known as semi-vegetarian, flexitarian, or pescatarian). The beauty of ‘plant-based’ is that there is no “one-size fits all” approach.

3 reasons why you should add Plant-Based options to your Menus:

  1. Captures a new audience of reducetarians, vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians
  2. Attracts larger groups by satisfying everyone in the group
  3. Keeps existing customers who want to dabble or change their current eating habits

TIP:   The most strategic way to do this is to focus on “Plant-Based” options that exclude any meat, dairy, or eggs. By doing this you will appeal to both vegans and plant-based diets with the same menu options.

80g Falafels – GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

130g Black Bean Patties – GF – DF – Vegan Friendly


The ‘umbrella’ term Plant-Based

 There are many types of plant-based eaters – all with similar but slightly differing value sets.

You’ve got your:

  • Vegan: Excludes all meat, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs & dairy. They also exclude other animal-derived products such as honey
  • Pescatarians: Includes eggs, dairy, fish & seafood. Excludes meat & poultry
  • Vegetarians: Includes egg and dairy. Excludes meat, poultry, fish & seafood
  • Flexitarians/Semi-Vegetarian: Includes eggs & dairy. May also include small amounts of meat, poultry, fish & seafood.
  • Lacto-vegetarians: Includes dairy. Excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood & eggs. (Vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume dairy products)
  • Ovo-vegetarians: Includes eggs. Excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood & dairy. (Vegetarians who avoid all animal products except eggs.)


We could get into explaining each one of these in more detail – but we would be here for a while (feel free to look it up in your own time). Luckily for us – they all fall under the ‘plant-based’ umbrella – which is a nice simple term that anyone can remember and digest.

 The learning from all of this is that one vegetarian option just won’t cut it anymore. It’s no longer 2014 and you can’t play dumb and pretend you don’t know what a vegan is – people want multiple plant-based options wherever they choose to eat these days. 

 So why not drive this audience into choosing your All-Inclusive Menu over other establishments.


Hash Sticks | GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

3 ways you can include Plant-Based dishes into your Menus:

1. Integrate into all menu sections – so easily available for all to choose from; or

2. Include a plant-based section/box – allows finding quickly; or

3. Create a separate plant-based menu alongside the standard menu. 

25g Mini Falafels | GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

Boost the sales of Plant-Based dishes – It’s all in a Name:

How food is described influences what people choose.   

So, make your “plant-based” dishes appeal to everyone.  If you choose to incorporate your plant-based options – it’s important to make them clear for your plant-based consumers:

Here are 7 Tips to consider:

  • TIP 1:   A compelling dish should emphasise culinary qualities that make a dish sound delicious and distinctive.
  • TIP 2:   Emphasise appearance, flavour, texture or cooking method by using adjectives to trigger the senses: eg sun-kissed (tomatoes), homely (hash browns), grated (ginger), aromatic  (herbs), sweet potato (rosti), baby (carrots), fermented (cabbage), chargrilled (sweetcorn), caramelised, spicy (hummus), zesty, crisp (lettuce), fresh (salad), roasted (potatoes), grilled (capsicum)
  • TIP 3:   Switch out meat in familiar dishes with a plant-based alternative
  • TIP 4:   Offer smaller plates – for all to share
  • TIP 5:   Highlight locally sourced ingredients & product
  • TIP 6:   Stick to positive framing e.g. ‘plant powered’ as opposed to ‘meatless’
  • TIP 7:   Price competitively

    Hash Sticks | GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

    120g Potato & Herb Rosti | GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

    All-Inclusive Menus:

    Make your ‘Plant-Based’ dishes appeal to everyone.

    Although created for your ‘plant-based’ audience – you don’t want your vegan options to be a side thought just because you needed them (people can most certainly tell if this is the case). You want your plant-based options to be staple dishes that you are proud to showcase on your menu.

    • Mark items as vegan or vegetarian subtly – use small symbols that plant-based eaters know to look out for, but meat-eaters won’t necessarily notice.
    • Emphasize the flavours and content to really sell the dish.
    • Use strong imagery – pictures communicate flavor better than word (especially on websites).
    • Train your staff on cooking vegan food with a culinary expert.
    • Pick vegan options that fit your brand and allow cross-selling in your menu.

    130g Corn Patties | GF – DF – Vegan Friendly

    What is a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet?

    A whole-food, plant-based diet is based on the following principles:

    • “Whole foods”: Natural foods that are not heavily processed. That means whole, unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.
    • “Plant-based”: Food that comes from plants and is free of animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.

    It is important to note that there is an overlap between whole-food, plant-based and vegan diets.  But there are also some key differences:

    • A vegan diet can include highly processed imitation meats and cheeses;
    • A whole-foods plant-based diet avoids these products in favour of whole or minimally processed, close-to-nature foods that make it easy to meet your nutritional needs. 

     Understanding your customers will help you make decisions on what type of plant-based options you should be adding to your menus.


    Making Plant-Based EASY!


    Wild Chef has always been at the forefront of Delicious, and Nutritious plant-based food adventures. Our products are created in a Production Kitchen (not a lab) using ingredients you recognise. These bases support the made-from-scratch ethos most food establishments aim to execute through all elements of their menu items, saving you time and money.

    Remember:  Customers come back for Taste, Quality & Consistency!

    Take the stress off kitchen staff and try purchasing our pre-made chef-quality Hash Browns, Rosti, Veggie Patties, Canapes, and Sides. Trust us – they will look and taste like they came fresh out of your kitchen. We don’t mind if you say they do…

    It will be our little secret.