Vegan Catering For Your Office
There was a time when vegans were almost ostracized, considered members of some far-strung cult, sitting on the fringe of the fringe. Not today. A recent report* found that 6% of the US population now identifies as vegan, a 600% increase from 2014. Today ‘meat-free’ and ‘ethical eating’ are becoming more than just a trend – there is a global dietary shift away from animal products. For companies serving any catering to their staff, providing vegan dishes is now a must-have option.
What is Veganism?
The Vegan Society defines veganism as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
From a nutrition point of view, this means that vegans follow a strict plant-based diet, avoiding all animal products (including, meat, shellfish, and insects) as well as dairy, eggs, and honey.
Why the growth in veganism
The growing popularity of this dietary shift, especially amongst millennials, has its roots in a number of movements.
A leading factor for veganism is the goal to reduce animal cruelty and exploitation with all creatures having a right to life.
Much emphasis on veganism are the health benefits of a plant based diet. Ingredients are packed full of the essential nutrients and vitamins required for a healthy life as well as being low in saturated fats, high in fibre and antioxidants. As the world struggles with healthy issues such as increasing obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, a diet free of meat products is beginning to show evidence of a positive impact in fighting these health issues.
The impact on the environment from an environmental standpoint is well known and goes beyond the issue of animal flatulence increasing CO2 emissions! The volume of crops required to feed animals has had a direct impact on increased deforestation as more land is required to farm their foodstuff. In addition, the growth in transport systems required to move feed and animals around our planet has negatively impacted our environment.
Ensuring that all your guests can enjoy your hospitality is key to being a great host. Taking the time to find out any dietary sensitivities is important as the growth of food allergies can create a life threatening situation. For most, it is simply being considerate to your guests needs and today, caterers are more than happy to provide specific meal options outside of their catering menu so long as notice is given. Surprising the chef on the day that you have non-meat eaters or dairy intolerant guests will not help your event run smoothly!
You don’t need to hire a separate company for vegan catering. Most caterers will have a specific vegan menu that you can choose from. The growth in requests for vegan dishes means they are no longer relegated as an afterthought, simply with extra veggies thrown in. As restaurants around the world embrace this movement with relish, chefs are becoming highly creative and excited at the prospect of developing these meatless dishes. Harnessing the best of mother nature’s ingredients means not only are great flavors allowed to sing loud and proud, new and exciting foods are appearing every year, with cult status being given to these protein filled power houses.
Originating from Asia, this ‘miracle’ fruit pulls no punches when it comes to nutritional value – packed full of protein, potassium, calcium and iron this large, starchy fruit is so versatile, used both for main dishes as well as deserts. Eco Caters Head Chef, Nick Brune loves working with Jackfruit – his tasty BBQ jackfruit sliders give BBQ pulled pork some serious competition!
A great protein source, tempeh is an alternative to tofu, made from fermented whole soya beans. Shaped into blocks, they are perfect for use in stir frys with a similar texture to mushrooms and a nutty earthy flavor.
Agar-Agar is a vegan gelatin substitute used in many desserts. Made from boiling seaweed it is becoming an essential ingredient as chefs strive to recreate many mainstream dishes for their vegan guests.
Vegan cheese is a great way to make sure your vegan dishes have plenty of flavor. Particular favorites of Chef Nick Brune, these nut cheeses can be heavenly for those craving their cheese fix.
Vegan Food Delivery
Proving that veganism has moved mainstream, food delivery services have an increasing wide variety of vegan options. Companies like DoorDash offer a great range of options. Many asian cultures embrace vegetarianism as a central practise of their religions and as such, have long created delicious meatless menus.
Vegan Meal Delivery
Making it easier to make the move to a vegan diet, there are many innovative online meal delivery services, like Purple Carrot providing delivered boxes to your home using plant based ingredients. Whether you are going ‘all in’ full time vegan or just choosing to take enjoy a couple of meatless days in your week, these services can be a great stepping stone to learn new recipes and experiment with tried and tasted ingredients.
Vegan Corporate Catering
Caterers like Eco Caters have been offering vegetarian and vegan dishes from their early beginnings by embracing benefits of a plant-based meal. As an organic caterer, sustainable ingredients are at the core of their ethos and Eco Caters chef is adept and talented at creating meatless dishes. One trend they do not embrace are meatless options – for Chef Nick Brune this is a no-go area with so many incredible natural ingredients available from his Southern Californian producers, creating delicious menus from plant-based foods is no challenge. Tofurky and seitan bacon are not items you will see on his menus due to the heavy processing involved in creating these foods. No need to digress into these food groups when natural ingredients are plentiful.
Corporations are recognizing the demand for meat-free dishes amongst its employees and corporate catering readily offers vegan dishes on its menus. For Eco Caters, their Simply Lunch program is a great example of being able to satisfy all their clients – every day a vegan option is available as part of their lunch offering.
Vegan catering is only going to continue to grow in popularity – it is not just a passing fad. As demands swell from not just committed vegans but also from those choosing meat-free days within their weekly diet, the future is bright and delicious for protein-rich, plant-based menu creations!