One thing is becoming increasingly clear with each passing year: More restaurants are adding plant-based and vegan options to their menus to accommodate people who are conscious about their health and diet. Picture: Supplied
One thing is becoming increasingly clear with each passing year: More restaurants are adding plant-based and vegan options to their menus to accommodate people who are conscious about their health and diet. Picture: Supplied

Vegan and plant-based products infiltrate fast food to meet customer demand

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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One thing is becoming increasingly clear with each passing year: More restaurants are adding plant-based and vegan options to their menus to accommodate people who are conscious about their health and diet.

Since 2018, plant-based eating continues to be without a doubt, one of the top food trends, if not the absolute top trend. The continuous rise of plant-based eating means the addition of vegan options to tons of menus.

They are even popping up in the most unexpected meat and dairy-heavy fast-food chains. If you are vegan or just prefer to eat plant-based, you probably never expected to find options at certain restaurants. Now you can dine almost anywhere with your non-vegan friends.

Last month, Burger King South Africa responded to SA’s increasing interest in adopting vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian lifestyles with the introduction of the plant-based whopper, vegan royale, and vegan Nuggets to its South African restaurants.

The exciting plant-based and vegan options have been added to the menu as the restaurant understands that consumers are looking to make healthier food choices. They working with The Vegetarian Butcher on this range and are thrilled to have its vegan options endorsed by V-Label (administered by ProVeg international).

Group Marketing Executive at Burger King South Africa, Ezelna Jones, said they understand that consumers are looking to make healthier food choices which is why the restaurant is constantly looking for ways to make eating out easier.

Jones says earlier this year they pledged their commitment to developing an entire menu containing 100% natural ingredients.

“We very much support the idea of balanced, healthy eating, which is why we are excited for our guests to try our brand-new range of products. Our aim is to offer vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based alternatives that do not compromise on flavour or price,” she said.

This month, Nando’s also found a way to completely remove chicken from the equation by introducing vegan perinaise - the same peri-peri goodness you know and love, but without the egg or the gluten. Customers can dip, cover and smother whatever vegan delights make them drool, in a sauce that shows them why Nando’s is famous for flavour. The vegan perinaise joins the restaurant's beloved perinaise range along with medium, hot, lite, and garlic alternatives also available for purchase.

Nando’s Grocery Division Marketing Manager, Vanessa Nunes says their great-tasting smooth and creamy perinaise has always been a hit with South Africans. Nunes said there was no reason they couldn’t make the circle bigger to include their vegan friends in the mix, and that they were proud to say this was a most delicious, completely plant-based addition to the perinaise range with all the flavour.

In 2019, Spur Steak Ranches also introduced a plant-based and vegan-friendly menu across restaurants in SA.

In a statement by the restaurant, Chief Operating Officer at Spur Steak Ranches, Kevin Robertson said they had included options on their menu that make it possible for a group of diverse people to get together and enjoy a variety of meal options.

He said it was important that the addition of the plant-based options was well-thought-out and had mouth-watering items to excite everyone.

“The Nachos Mexicana and the large cheesy quesadillas will stay as starter options for everyone, including vegetarians, who also have the option of a Greek Salad and or fresh hot vegetables. The timing of the plant-based menu coincides perfectly with the introduction of new crockery in line with modern trends in the Spur Steak Ranches restaurants to complement the brand’s new look and feel. Spur Steak Ranches is on a journey of transformation as a brand and business. The introduction of the plant-based menu is one of the progressive steps we are taking towards a more sustainable brand and business while giving our customers greater choice,” said Robertson.

Earlier this year, IOL Lifestyle reported that fast-food company McDonald’s was finally hopping on the plant-based bandwagon by launching a new plant-based burger called the McPlant. We can reveal that they have just started rolling out the much-anticipated burger in the UK. From last month, several locations in England began selling the plant-based patty co-developed with food tech Beyond Meat, before expanding nationwide from 2022.

According to a blog post by the company, there were other plant-based burgers out there, but the McPlant delivered its iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich. McDonald’s said it was made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings.

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