Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Vegan Trend Insights Insights into the vegan trend from our panel of experts

This comforting vegan mac and cheese, made by chef Scott Perry of Burtons Grill, based in Andover, Mass., stars a rich roasted-cauliflower sauce.
PHOTO CREDIT: Barilla Foodservice


It is a common misconception that vegan food cannot be indulgent and delicious. We have seen indulgence and craveability blossom in many diet lifestyles, including the gluten-free and low-carb movement, and it follows that we can now include vegan diets in that. Consumers today demand delicious food wherever they go, and it doesn’t matter if they follow a specific diet—the food still has to amaze.

It is unthinkable to stop eating familiar favorites when following an alternative diet, and vegan food going indulgent reflects that. This has a bonus side effect of showcasing the vegan lifestyle in a really positive light. To execute a craveable vegan dish, look toward items that are easily swapped and already a well-known crowd favorite.
Charlie Baggs

If your vegan and vegetarian offerings are not based on a flavor-first principle, then all you will be doing is feeding the trash can and losing guests.
Rob Corliss

The best thing about the indulgent vegan movement is that chefs are developing menus so packed with flavor, techniques and interesting ingredients, consumers aren’t even realizing they are eating vegan. Chefs are bringing the level higher by paying closer attention to vegetables and making a point to give them flavors that can really deliver. Outside of the plant-based meats movement, it’s great seeing the growth in other complete-protein, plant-forward foods such as pastas.
Jessica Bograd

Indulgent Vegan – read the full story on how vegan food is moving from functional to decadent, making it one of our top 10 flavor trends for 2019.

The vegan lifestyle is gaining appreciation and admiration, especially among younger consumers. In a recent Culinary Visions study, 56 percent of consumers 18 to 34 years old said they admired the vegan lifestyle.
Sharon Olson

Vegan is no longer a dirty word to chefs. So many factors are contributing to this trend: sustainability, health-conscious eating, decreasing carbon footprint, great plant-based food products, allergies, digestibility.
Katie Sutton

From the Jan/Feb 2019 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.