Menus to see a rise in plant-based food post-pandemic, finds study

A new study suggests that plant-based food will reign supreme on restaurant menus in the UK, with the pandemic leading to a shift in diet perceptions.

Covid-19 and the subsequent changes to the hospitality industry would have a significant impact on restaurant menus, according to a new study by Upfield Professional.

86% chefs believe that the pandemic will affect UK restaurant menus, while about half are cooking more plant-based dishes since lockdown began. Over three-quarters have noticed a shift in dietary choices in restaurants during the coronavirus, due to a growing sense of health consciousness.

This confirmed that the link between food, environment and health has been in the spotlight even more so since the beginning of the pandemic. Covid-19 has led to more people eating plant-based food. 79% of the surveyed chefs believe that restaurants need to be more creative to survive now.

The report added that one of the biggest challenges of the industry is compensating for reduced cover capacities, which have been cut down by a third. 56% of the surveyed chefs think outdoor dining is the way forward. And since many businesses were closed during the peak of lockdown, 72% have revealed they considered takeaway or delivery services as a result.

58% said the ‘new normal’ will offer opportunities in regards to different dining experiences, which can be capitalised on. David Mulcahy, culinary ambassador for food development and innovation at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “In order to be truly fit for the future and to meet the complex needs of our clients and customers from a multitude of sectors, we must ensure our chefs are fully signed up to providing a food experience that supports a better climate and is ultimately beneficial to mankind.”

Richard Leidekker, Upfield Professional’s global lead chef, said: “It’s no secret that the consumer’s attitude towards food is changing. People are more aware of the consequences of an animal-based diet and are looking for different, plant-based ways of eating.

“This, of course, brings a challenge to professional kitchens. It requires a new approach to building up a dish and using specific techniques and ingredients that surprise customers, leaving them feeling both satisfied and satiated.”

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