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Develop your vegetarian products to cater for this strong growth market with Flexeserve®

Flexeserve Zone® is enabling businesses to expand their hot food-to-go ranges and improve product quality. It makes sense that it can also help you to develop a vibrant and enticing range of vegetarian and vegan food-to-go.

Hot-holding in Flexeserve Zone® has been revolutionary for the hot food-to-go industry – improving quality, variety and the opportunity for sales. But does your food offering also now cater for the growing market of vegetarian and vegan food-to-go?

In the past, the vegetarian market has suffered from dull products and lack of choice. However, in recent years, this has changed in response to a growth in demand for more innovative and exciting vegetarian options. This has been driven by an increasing vegetarian and vegan population, but also by consumers who are consciously reducing their meat intake.

A responsive industry

Some of the UK’s most well-known food-to-go retailers are expanding their vegetarian and vegan ranges and receiving a great reception from customers. Gregg’s Vegan Sausage Roll is perhaps the most ‘headline grabbing’ of these and there is significant growth of Veggie Pret on the High Street too. We’re also seeing more retailers working with meat alternative manufacturers, such as the Impossible Burger at Burger King and the already iconic Leon LOVe Burger.

Nuttall’s and the UK’s largest sandwich manufacturer, Greencore, have been working together closely for many years to create simple solutions for hot food-to-go retailers.

Simon Chiremba, Product Development Controller at Greencore Food, said: “The presence of vegetarian and vegan food continues to grow in the food-to-go sector, and not only in the exciting and adventurous world of street food.

“Other key influences that have led to the growth of vegan and vegetarian are consumer awareness of world cuisines – namely Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, South American – as well as consumers seeking healthier, balanced diets and having greater social and environmental awareness.

“We’ve seen more and more appearances of meat-free food-to-go. A lot of the high street chains and brands are ensuring they now offer something for everyone across their respective ranges.”

However, many retailers are struggling to easily provide high quality vegetarian and vegan hot food-to-go that maintains its delicate flavour and texture during hot-holding. That’s where Flexeserve Zone® comes in.

The vegetable conundrum

A wide variety of meat-free and vegetable-rich dishes can be hot-held with the unique technology of Flexeserve Zone®. These include vegan mac and cheese, kale mashed potatoes, veggie curries, egg and spinach omelettes with roasted red peppers, and many more besides.

Warwick Wakefield, Development Chef at Nuttall’s Foodservice Solutions division, says: “As vegetables are more delicate than most ingredients, they have been problematic for hot-holding in the past. However, the Flexeserve Zone® unit enables us to control the environment specifically to retain their moisture and texture, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

“In other hot-holding units, that have more limited technology, vegetables continue to cook causing them to release water, lose their vibrant colour and build up excess water that saturates the packaging. The technology within Flexeserve Zone® enables us to keep that moisture in place, maintaining the integrity of the ingredients. This allows you to serve fresh products as if they had just been cooked.”

Simon Chiremba, of Greencore Food, continued: “Nuttall’s and their unique Flexeserve Zone® hot-holding units make it easier for food retailers to broaden their horizons. They enable brands to offer safe and great quality hot food-to-go products to a diverse range of consumers.

“Flexeserve® technology has allowed us to offer vegan or vegetarian options across all day parts, from morning through to lunchtime, and the evening ‘grab and go’ market. And in Flexeserve Zone®, the food stays hot, fresh and, most importantly, tasty.”

Changing diets and demands

Currently, the meat-free food market is worth almost £600 million in the UK alone, and that number continues to grow. In addition to the number of people classifying themselves as vegetarian or vegan, many of us are also trying to reduce the amount of meat and dairy products we consume on a daily basis.

Jamie Joyce, Chief Executive of the Foodservice Solutions Division, says: “Throughout 2019 and as we head into 2020, the vegetarian market is certainly a notable growth market. It’s one that could hold significant potential for many businesses.

“If retailers can create the right products, they will capture the interest of people on a vegetarian or vegan diet and those reducing their meat and dairy consumption. Flexeserve® has broadened the variety of food that you can hot-hold. As such, if you’re considering your hot vegetarian menu – get in touch.”

For more information about Flexeserve Zone® hot food-to-go solutions and how we can help your business, please contact us.

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