Today on The Lempert Report we explore the intersection of plant based and comfort foods. Over the past few years, industry leaders Beyong Meat and Impossible Foods has made significant headway in pushing their meat alternatives on menus from fast food chains to school cafeterias to white tablecloth restaurants. The question continues to be whether foodservice or retail will be the biggest opportunity for this category. Some say both, but I for one am betting on the foodservice sector, post pandemic, for a number of reasons.
The first one is taste. While the plant-based brands all tout how delicious they are, the truth, based on the varieties I’ve tasted so far, is that there is a skill that our home cooks need to master to prepare these foods properly. A great grill master who may be able to cook great burgers and steaks and even fish – often struggles with meat alternatives. Second is that in many cases (not all) these foods would do well with a chef’s touch for spices and sauces – their taste is different, and we will need to nudge the consumer’s taste buds a bit to have them accept these alternatives. And lastly, while many of these proclaim how beneficial they are for the environment and are trying to cater to the more earth-friendly shopper, a read of the ingredients – some that smack in the face of the nutritional profile that these die-hards demand send them running from the meat case. Foodservice satisfies many of these issues and can serve as the training wheels for this important and growing category.
And to learn more about plant based, join our partner, The Food Institute for the 2022 Outlook of Plant-Based and Next Gen Protein next Tuesday January 18 at 2pm Eastern. To register for this important webinar just go to foodinstitute.com and scroll down to ‘events’