40 Percent of Restaurants Will Menu This Trend to Appeal to Gen Z

    Consumers are demanding more plant-based options when they dine out.
    Sponsored Content | February 21, 2023
    Samples of plant-based butters from Kagome
    Kagome USA

    Plant-based ingredients have exploded on menus across the country over the last couple of years, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Datassential expects plant-based items to appear on 40 percent of U.S. menus by 2025.

    “To be honest, I don’t even think we’re looking at a trend anymore. Because of the influence of Millennials and Gen Z, ‘plant-based’ is going to become a permanent lifestyle,” says Chef Natalie Cervantes, corporate chef at Kagome USA.

    Consumers—especially younger generations—are becoming more aware of the effect of their eating habits on the environment, and they’re also looking to make healthier choices. Datassential recently found that more than half of all American consumers consider climate change to be important, and 57 percent say the choices they make about what they eat have an impact on the environment. Among students, that figure increases to 73 percent.

    “People are trying to make decisions they feel will be better for the planet, or reduce the negative impact their choices may have. They’re more cognizant that meat production has a lot of emissions associated with it, and they’re also gaining a better understanding of the effect of meat on their bodies,” says Daryan Johnson, R&D manager at Kagome USA. “People are looking for food that not only tastes good, but also benefits the environment and their health.”

    According to Datassential, consumers see plant-based and plant-forward forward foods as potential enablers of immunity and long-term health. Thirty-nine percent seek out plant-based foods to support their digestive health, and 32 percent say they’re looking for plant-based foods that may protect them from long-term disease.  

    More consumers are also specifically interested in non-dairy. Twenty-four percent of consumers—and 38 percent of students—say they’re trying to increase their intake of non-dairy substitutes. 

    It’s clear that plant-based foods are intriguing to consumers, and restaurants are a classic setting to try new things. For the “plant-curious” as well as consumers seeking out non-dairy butter, Kagome’s Plant-Based Butter Alternatives deliver a range of sweet and savory trending flavors for a wide variety of menu applications.

    Kagome’s Plant-Based Butter Alternatives are made with a blend of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and sunflower oil. Lower in saturated fat than dairy butter, it’s rich in healthy fats and is also free of cholesterol. It has a lower melt point and a higher smoke point than dairy butter, allowing chefs to incorporate it easily into pasta dishes or vegetable stir-fry. It can be used to add a quick burst of juiciness and flavor to pasta, cauliflower steaks, or any other dish that needs plant-based richness and dimension.

    “People want to see plant-based options on the menu, but a common complaint from first-timers is a lack of flavor. They miss the umami flavor of animal proteins like steak or chicken,” Cervantes says. “Our savory butter blends, from Browned Butter to various Italian options to Miso Ginger, help restaurants add umami back to their plant-based menu items. Vegetables don’t have to be boring!”

    The sweet blends—Cinnamon & Brown Sugar, Hot Honey, and Blood Orange—also deliver crowd-pleasing yet intriguing flavor combinations. (Traditionally, honey is not considered vegan, as it’s made with an animal product—but Kagome’s Hot Honey blend is entirely vegan.)

    “We wanted to go places with our flavors that would stand out from other plant-based butter alternatives in the market,” Johnson says. “We wanted to provide a base for chefs to be creative, while supporting them with a foundation of what today’s consumers are looking for.” 

    To learn more about Kagome’s unique plant-based butter alternatives, visit the Kagome USA website.

    By Kara Phelps