Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Flavor & The Menu
December 15, 2021

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Chef Mason Hereford, the “meat-obsessed” owner of Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans, has a soft spot for plant-based protein. But why? “Non-meat options are no longer only for vegetarians or vegans. In my restaurants, I’ve seen a lot more ‘flexitarian’ guests looking for plant-based options,” said Hereford. “It’s important to me as a chef to offer rich and crave-worthy options to all of my customers.”

Hereford has been menuing plant-based options from Incogmeato® by MorningStar Farms® since November 2020. He was one of the first restaurants to menu the Incogmeato Burger Patty (Guajillo BBQ Burger with crispy fried onions and slaw) in 2020 and the Homestyle Chik’n Tenders (Chik’n Tender Sammie with his signature sweet hot mustard, pickles, hot sauce and dill) in 2021.

In the meat-loving atmosphere at Turkey and the Wolf, it was important to Hereford that the plant-based options he served looked, cooked and tasted like meat; Hereford and Incogmeato were a match made in heaven. MorningStar Farms, the plant-based category leader for more than 40 years, created the Incogmeato lineup to serve the demand for ‘just-like-meat’ options that consumers and chefs can feel good about without compromising on taste or experience.

“There’s definitely back of house skepticism when it comes to plant-based proteins, but once my team and I got into the kitchen with it, we were really impressed with the whole Incogmeato product lineup,” added Hereford. “We’re currently menuing the Chik’n Sammie and, personally, I was amazed by the tear-apart texture. It’s wild – it’s just cool. And I was blown away by how seamlessly the product worked with all the variations I tried. It’s easy to use and easy to cook with.”

Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive since menuing both products, with many saying they’re excited to have a plant-based option. Hereford recalls one vegetarian customer was so convinced the Chik’n Tender Sammie was chicken after biting in, she gave it to her carnivorous husband to finish.

Turkey and the Wolf sold out of the Guajillo BBQ Burger the first night it was featured on the menu and has cooked up 10 cases of Homestyle Chik’n Tenders every month since adding the Sammie to its menu.

“I’m still surprised by the number of people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian who order plant-based. The fact that it’s not meat doesn’t even factor into their decision when ordering,” Hereford said.

Hereford prices his restaurant’s plant-based sandwiches similar to their meat-forward options.

Turkey and the Wolf is one of many restaurants around the country offering Incogmeato, and non-commercial restaurants are getting on board too. In fact, Incogmeato Chik’n Tenders are now available to over one million college students at more than 50 colleges and universities throughout the country. Additionally, more than 50 U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems are now offering Incogmeato.

For more information and Mason’s recipes visit IncogmeatoForChefs.com.


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