Exploring the Delicious Revolution: Plant-Based “Cheese” Trends in UK Foodservice
How “Vegan Cheese” Trends Are Shaping the UK Foodservice Landscape.
In recent years, the vegan movement has gained significant momentum in the United Kingdom. As a result, the demand for plant-based alternatives has skyrocketed, touching every aspect of the food industry, including the dairy aisle.
Vegan cheese, once considered a niche product, has now become a mainstay in the UK foodservice industry. This blog will delve into the exciting world of vegan cheese trends, focusing on how it’s making waves in the diverse and dynamic landscape of UK foodservice.
The Rise of Veganism in the UK
Before we dive into the world of vegan cheese, it’s helpful to understand the context in which this trend is emerging. The UK has experienced a culinary revolution, with a significant increase in the number of people adopting plant-based diets. In fact, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, with over 600,000 individuals identifying as vegans, and the number of flexitarians (people who occasionally eat meat) had increased from 28% of adults in 2017 to 34% in 2019.
This growth is attributed to a variety of factors, including concerns about animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and personal health.
And as plant-based consumption continues to gain popularity, the food industry has had to adapt to cater to this growing demographic.
So what about post-Covid?
The UK foodservice sector, which includes restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, hotels, catering services, and other outlets that serve food and beverages to consumers, was severely affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions in 2020/21. However, it is expected to recover and grow in 2023 as consumers return to eating out and socialising.
The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the demand for vegan cheese, as consumers have become more aware of the fragility of the traditional food chain and the environmental impact of animal agriculture. The pandemic prompted consumers to pay closer attention to their diet and wellness during lockdowns and restrictions, with reports that 26% of cheese eaters limited or reduced their dairy intake due to environmental concerns.
Plant-based cheese, such as Ornua’s PlantNation product, can offer several benefits to the UK food sector post-covid, such as:
- Catering to the growing demand for plant-based options from vegan and flexitarian consumers
- Offering a point of differentiation and innovation from competitors
- Attracting new customers and increasing loyalty and retention
- Enhancing the sustainability and ethical image of the business
- Reducing the dependency on dairy imports and supporting local producers
Pizza, pizza, pizza!
One of the key ingredients that has made a difference to vegan pizza innovation in the UK is the use of plant-based mozzarella-style shreds, such as PlantNation to ensure a satisfying and authentic pizza experience.
Innovative vegan pizzas made with plant-based mozzarella-style shreds, have become a staple in many UK out-of-home establishments, allowing customers to enjoy the classic pizza experience without the use of animal products.
And thanks to the creativity of plant-based food producers and pizza makers, vegan pizzas have become more accessible and delicious than ever, meaning most UK retailers also offer plant-based pizza, ensuring that the vegan consumer will not be disappointed by the variety and quality of vegan pizza products.
Some delicious examples of innovative pizza types in the UK using vegan mozzarella are:
- Spicy Mushroom & Vegetable Pizza, featuring a thin and crispy base topped with spicy tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, red onion, kale, and chilli flakes.
- Vegan Gardener Pizza, a gluten-free pizza that features a sourdough base topped with tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, roasted courgette, roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, and basil pesto.
- Vegan Giardiniera: a classic base topped with vegan mozzarella, spinach, red onion, artichokes, garlic mushrooms, and olives.
- Roasted Veg & Houmous Pizza, made with a stone baked base topped with houmous sauce, vegan mozzarella, roasted peppers, roasted red onion, and spinach.
- Plant-Based Mushroom Pizza showcases the umami flavour of mushrooms features a thin and crispy base topped with garlic sauce, vegan mozzarella, chestnut mushrooms, and parsley.
These are just some of the examples of how plant-based mozzarella-style shreds, like PlantNation, are changing the game for vegan pizzas in the UK food sector and there are many more options available at different establishments across the country.
Comfort and joy, vegan-style!
Comfort food lovers rejoice! Vegan mac and cheese is now a common item on the menu at many eateries. Chefs use creamy, plant-based sauces and a variety of vegan cheeses to create this beloved dish.
And burger lovers don’t miss out either! Vegan cheese has found its way into the world of burgers, with many burger joints offering vegan cheeseburger options with vegan cheese atop juicy plant-based patties.
There are many innovative vegan burgers that use plant-based cheese, such as The Plant Burger which features a Beyond Meat patty, topped with chipotle mayo, vegan cheese, and finished with mustard, red onion, pickles and lettuce.
PlantNation doesn’t cost the earth…
As well as its ethical & environmental benefits, PlantNation grated from Ornua is one of the most cost-effective plant-based “cheeses” on the market. We have reduced the price gap between vegan cheese and dairy cheese to make it more affordable and accessible, to try to increase the availability and distribution of vegan cheese across the UK food sector.
We think that vegan cheese is not only a trend but a transformation in the UK food sector post-covid, appealing to a wide range of consumers from vegans to flexitarians, from health-conscious to adventurous, from ethical to environmental.
The vegan cheese revolution in the UK foodservice industry is a testament to the changing culinary landscape and, as veganism and flexitarianism continues to gain momentum, the demand for high-quality, cost-effective plant-based “cheese” options such as PlantNation, will only grow.
For more details on PlantNation grated, please contact [email protected]
Ornua Ingredients Europe (UK) Ltd
Spinneyfields Farm, Worleston, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6DN
Spinneyfields Farm, Worleston, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6DN
Business Registration Number 1933884
VAT Number GB482469807