But it’s more than just a trend, according to Keren Baron, Global Category Lead for plant-based meal solutions at Nestlé Professional. “This is a social shift which will affect how people consume food in the future. Plant-based food is for everyone, not just for vegans and vegetarians.”
“Younger generations are taking the lead and about 40% of consumers across the globe have adopted a ‘flexitarian’ diet by reducing their meat consumption. They are looking for plant-based options without compromising on taste, texture or experience. This is my mission – to help deliver the tastiest, healthiest and most sustainable plant-based food,” she said.
“As the world is constantly changing, so are the menus. With this sharp increase in demand, increasing numbers of operators and restaurants are embracing plant-based dishes,” she added.
Driving the plant-based movement
Having worked in the food industry for more than two decades, Keren’s passion and knowledge of food comes from both in and out of work.
As a proud foodie, her taste for trying new flavors, different ingredients and exploring new food experiences across the globe – as well as working for Nestlé in food retail and out-of-home businesses for 22 years – are the ingrained reasons why she is so driven in her mission.
“More and more people are looking for food that is better for them and cuts down their carbon footprint,” she explained. “It is our ambition to lead this movement to enable people to eat more plant-based food options they know and love. Despite the current pandemic, plant-base has become even more popular and we are driven to help chefs and restaurants offer more to their diners.”
Shaping the future of plant-based diets
Nestlé Professional started in the plant-based category over 30 years ago in Israel with its brand, Tivall, launching its first plant-based schnitzel in 1986. Now they are active in many countries around the globe with several brands: Garden Gourmet in Europe, Harvest Gourmet in Asia and Australia, and Sweet Earth in North and Latin America.
Working with their team of chefs, research and development experts, and consumers, they shape the future of plant-based nutrition by developing and creating products by chefs, for chefs.
With its large portfolio of foods made from high-quality plant protein and fiber such as soy, pea and wheat, Nestlé Professional has developed versatile products like the Sensational Burger, Fillet Pieces and Veggie Meatballs, which can be easily prepared and cooked in any kitchen, requiring no additional skills or training.
Although for some, plant-base is still totally new, Keren believes training and knowledge are key to boosting the future and benefits of plant-based nutrition. For example, it is important to serve plant-based products in an appealing way. Customers should use “plant-based” descriptions on their menu and describe the products as “delicious” and “juicy.”
“Operators may need to take some extra steps to help their staff and guests learn about plant-based proteins. Working together with partners like WorldChefs has enabled us to spread the word, train and inspire chefs worldwide about plant-based food,” she added.