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The Power of Adding Plant-Based to your Menu

Posted on 23 June, 2021

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Plant power

This week, HIT Training has teamed up with meat-free pioneer, Quorn to talk all things plant-based. Why? Because we’ve also launched the UK’s first plant-based training programme for chefs.

Quorn has long been a pioneer of everything plant-based and our partnership with HIT Training to deliver the Level 2 Diploma in Plant Forward – Plant-Based Catering course is a fantastic step for the hospitality industry – and the planet.

From recipe inspiration to delivering on consumer trends, we’ve got chefs covered.

Why now?

It’s clear that putting plants on the menu goes beyond just ‘being seen to be green’. Plant-based dishes meet several consumer needs – and with the versatility offered by plant-based products, chefs can serve delicious dishes throughout the day.

Making plant-based additions to the menu could also encourage more diners to the table, as vegans, vegetarians and a growing number of flexitarians look for delicious meat alternatives.

In fact, more than half (58%) of consumers are reducing their meat consumption, not just for health reasons but also for sustainability ones. And our research shows that some 46% of diners recognising the need to reduce their meat consumption by a sizeable 40%. For example, did you know that if a consumer swaps beef mince for Quorn mince – just for one meal – they would save the water equivalent of taking 20 showers?

And while the health and sustainability cases for more plant-based options are obvious, as chefs, you’ll know that taste and texture are still a key priority. After all, customers are unlikely to come back for more if they aren’t satisfied with a dish. 

Quorn is a leader in the meat-free market, and it is an established household name in all things plant-based. That’s why the texture of Quorn closely resembles that of meat, which helps to ensure a familiar experience – especially for flexitarian consumers who are cutting down on meat and perhaps moving to plant-based dishes for the first time.

What is ‘plant-based’? 

So, what is Quorn made from? Say hello to mycoprotein. Making mycoprotein starts with a natural, nutritious fungus called Fusarium Venenatum, which is naturally high in protein. Quorn then uses the age-old process of fermentation — the same process used to create bread, beer and yoghurt — to grow mycoprotein.

Mycoprotein is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids which are normally only present in animal produce. It’s also easy on the land – using 90% less water to grow and producing fewer carbon emissions than animal protein. Not only that, but it is also low in saturated fat and high in protein fibre – both key concerns for today’s health conscious consumers. And unlike animal proteins, mycoprotein is free from cholesterol, and studies suggest that it even helps maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.

Flexible food

As well as the obvious health and sustainability benefits, Quorn can also absorb popular flavours, making it a great bet for familiar dishes – and a versatile product for more adventurous dishes.

For a familiar favourite, try a Stuffed Roast. This rolled Quorn Roast with sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, tender stem broccoli, heritage carrots and grilled hispi cabbage – all served with a rich jus – is a great meat-free Sunday roast option. 

Or if you’re looking to attract a more adventurous diner, use the same Quorn Roast to make Sticky Quorn Bao Buns. Glaze the Quorn Roast with soy and agave syrup and serve in steamed bao buns with matchstick cucumbers and spring onion. This dish can be a light bite for lunch or part of a full-blown Asian banquet. 

In fact, Quorn lends itself to an incredible number of cuisines. The Quorn Korean Open Kebab, for example, uses Quorn Vegan Fillets marinated in Korean sauce and served in a loaded flatbread with beetroot chutney, pickled red onions, micro coriander, a sprinkling of nigella seeds and crispy fried onions, all topped with spicy chipotle mayo.  Meanwhile, Quorn Pieces can be used to make chilli and paprika-spiced Mexican empanadas, served with a peppy cauliflower and pomegranate chimichurri. There are so many possibilities!

Future focus

This is an exciting trend for the foodservice industry – and it’s one that’s here to stay. Plant-based dishes are no longer on the menu to cater for the minority, and customers are actively demanding delicious meat-free options. There is a tremendous opportunity for chefs to create a positive impact for the environment, at the same time and driving profits from delicious and on-trend dishes.

To showcase the power of plant-based foods, Quorn and HIT Training are incredibly proud to launch the UK’s first plant-based training programme for chefs. The eight-month training programme is available to chefs at all levels and delivered by HIT’s award-winning Chef Academy. The specially designed qualification aims to expand a chef’s confidence, knowledge and technical skills when developing plant-based menu items.

We can’t wait to see what you do with our products!

For more information or to enquire about signing up to HIT Training’s Diploma in Plant Forward: Plant-based Catering, visit https://hittraining.co.uk/diploma-plant-forward-plant-based-catering


Testimonials

It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!
 

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho

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