Examining the Growing Role of Plant-Based Products in Foodservice With QSRs from Burger King to Burger Fi, White Castle, and many other casual dineries all jumping on the plant-based burger bandwagon, health-conscious people from all over are flocking through the doors to rate the taste of these meat-free alternatives. Whether it’s an Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat, controversy has arisen as it pertains to cross-contamination, labeling and more. As such, restaurants may consider carrying plant-based burgers and other plant-based menu items as a hassle that opens them up to potential lawsuits, meaning they may opt against putting these items on their menus altogether, resulting in fewer options available for vegans, vegetarians, and those on plant-based diets, Fortunately, Antunes has solutions. Meat vs. Plant-Based Meats First conceived by Louis Lassen way back in 1900, people around the world have been eagerly chomping down on delicious, juicy hamburgers since. Why? Well, from melty cheese to crunchy veggies, crispy bacon –even slices of tenderloin and a fried egg –you can pile on a crazy number of toppings to meet anyone’s palate. Packed with carbohydrates and calories, burgers are a comfort food that can actually amp up your psychological and emotional state, making you feel happier. As consumers have become more health-conscious over the past decades, chefs in restaurants and homes around the world have sought out alternatives that not only meet the discerning dietary needs of vegans and vegetarians but also lower health risks and stay on trend. Cross-Contamination, Complex Definitions and Legal Issues The term “plant-based dish” can seem ambiguous, but it’s rather simple – plant-based dishes refer to a dish that’s comprised of ingredients derived all or mostly from plants. They can include many things aside from plant-based burger patties, such as avocado toast, soups, oatmeals, breakfast sandwiches and more. The market and desire for plant-based dishes is not a passing trend – it’s expected to continue ballooning across all segments, particularly as younger generations enter adulthood and see their disposable income grow. In fact, according to Datassential, 44% of consumers are trying to increase their intake of vegetable-based proteins like beans and nuts. Best of all, this doesn’t mean restaurants need to move away from traditional options; instead, this new and growing market offers an opportunity to expand menus and drive additional revenue. However, as plant-based solutions continue their rollout in restaurants around the globe, there are concerns for vegans and vegetarians. Lawsuits have been raised by vegan and vegetarian consumers who assert their plant-based products were cooked on the same equipment as meat-based products, so careful attention must be paid to how operators incorporate this growing segment of the foodservice industry. Antunes Offers Solutions To protect both their image and their businesses while continuing to satisfy their plant-based, vegan and vegetarian customers’ dietary needs, restaurants are seeking sustainable solutions that will help to avoid cross-contamination between their meat and meatless offerings, all without breaking the bank or requiring excess space. Antunes has a wide variety of cost-effective and space-saving food preparation solutions to meet the needs of any kitchen, ensuring plant-based options are kept separate and quickly cleaned for top versatility alongside cooking areas used for animal products. Antunes is ready to be your partner in taking advantage of the growing demand for plant-based products, keeping you agile in the face of this fast-moving and here-to-stay trend with products like our grilling solutions. Antunes grilling equipment offers a separate and efficient space to not only create exciting new menu items, but ensure you protect yourself from potential issues that might arise due to cross-contamination and more. Contact us today to request information on our solutions.