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Why You Need to Take Your Vegan Customers Seriously!

Meat-Free mondays, bleeding (beetroot) burgers, plant mylk, plant-based, flexitarians, vegetarians, #veganhour, Veganuary, veganism and meat-free diets have taken 2018 by storm.  


Indeed Angel HR has seen a huge rise in requests for chefs with “vegan skills” over the last year. So if your team hasn’t got creative, plant-based know-how and menu options you could be putting off a “meaty” portion of potential customers.

Vegan Fact & Figures


According to the Vegan Society the number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. While that’s a startling rise, when you also consider these Lightspeed survey figures:

  • 1% of Brits now identify as vegans
  • 3% of the population identify as vegetarian
  • 24% described themselves as ‘other’ – think meat-reducers or flexitarians


You can see, there’s good reason to take your meat-free menu offerings seriously.

Who Are Your Plant-Based Customers?


This autumn saw catering stalwart BaxterStorey launch its first entirely vegan café at The Royal College of Art’s flagship Kensington Campus in response to the rising numbers of vegan and non-meat eating students.


Indeed Sodexo’s 2017 International University Lifestyle Survey found more than half of UK students (60%) expect vegan or vegetarian food to be available at their university catering or retail outlets. While January’s try vegan campaign Veganuary counted 84% of 2018’s participants as female – 60% were aged under 35.


Findings like these have given rise to speculation that plant-based eating is just a trend inspired by social media stars, like Deliciously Ella who gets 12-20 million weekly impressions on her Instagram channel. But with top chefs like 100 Wardour Street’s Kim Woodward stating that:


“Right now [vegan dishes are] a must-have as an option on the menu.” It’s clear that meat-free is in demand across the dining spectrum. And, yet many venues are being slow to catch on and are failing to meet customer requirements.


Animal-Free Eaters Missing Out


Veganism and meat-free eating might be increasing in popularity but the Vegan Society says: “Provision for vegans in the public sector is lacking, with hospital patients and school children often going hungry.”


This has lead to their campaign Catering for Everyone which is pushing for a vegan option to be added to every public sector menu – that’s schools, hospitals, universities, councils and prisons – in the UK. And, it’s not just public sector caterers which need to rethink their menus.


A recent survey from veggie food guide for meat-eaters More Than Carrots found that nearly three-quarters (73 %) of their meat-reducing or flexitarian respondents said they would avoid a restaurant due to its lack of non-meat options.

Making Your Menu More Flexitarian


Veganism is often inspired by animal welfare concerns, environmental worries or personal health needs. But that doesn’t mean people choosing plant-based diets want to eat so-called rabbit food.


Indeed, as the impact of image-conscious Instagram on veganism, ethical eating and healthier diets proves creativity is key when it comes to providing plant-based fayre. Cue the bright and beautiful buddha bowl, brimming with vitamins and minerals, promoted by the likes of @theplantpoweredprincess and @veganfoodeliciousness.


While the so-called ‘dirty’ vegan food is also turning plant-based eating on its head. London has recently become home to fried chicken-style tofu vendor Temple of Seitan and US fast food sensation By Chloe with its free-from take on Brit classics. All this means passionate and inventive chefs are more vital than ever.


Vegan & Free-From Chefs


As the likes of Leiths School of Food & Wine launch sell-out vegan cookery courses it’s clear plant-based cooking skills are in demand. But, while creative chefs with vegan or plant-based skills are becoming a must the industry knows recruiting any chef can be a feat in itself!


So when your requirements get this specific what’s the answer?


Well, one solution is to get a savvy recruitment agency with its finger on the pulse on the case.  Agencies, like Angel, who are staffed by sector-experienced consultants, are best positioned to help you identify the people you need to elevate your kitchen for this plant-based dining evolution.


For help recruiting chefs with vegan and plant-based skills contact us today.