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Plant-Based Meat on the Menu: Pre-Packaged or Chef-Made?


As the demand for plant-based dining options accelerates, restaurants face a pivotal decision: stock the kitchen with pre-packaged plant-based meat alternatives or craft their own creations from scratch. Each choice comes with its unique set of benefits and considerations, from convenience and brand recognition to nutrition and culinary creativity.

The Case for Pre-Packaged Plant-Based Meats

Opting for pre-packaged plant-based meats offers undeniable convenience. These products are typically ready to cook and serve, saving valuable prep time in a busy kitchen. Made from ingredients like soy, wheat, and pea protein, they offer a variety of textures and flavors designed to mimic traditional meats closely.

However, these benefits come with considerations. Pre-packaged options tend to undergo higher levels of processing, which might deter some health-conscious diners. Yet, they often come with strong brand loyalty that can draw customers, particularly those familiar with and loyal to specific plant-based brands.

Key Companies to Consider:

Before The Butcher: Offers a diverse range of products, including burgers, grounds, and chunks that cater to different culinary needs.

Daring Foods: Specializes in chicken alternatives that boast impressive texture and flavor, suitable for a range of dishes.

Abbott’s Butcher: Provides premium plant-based meats like chorizo, ground “beef,” and “chicken” that focus on clean ingredients and versatility.

Embracing Chef-Made Plant-Based Meats

Creating plant-based meats in-house allows chefs to exercise culinary creativity and cater to consumers seeking authentic and local dining experiences. Utilizing ingredients such as mushrooms, jackfruit, beans, and lentils, chefs can craft dishes with a meaty mouthfeel and flavor while ensuring minimal processing. This approach not only aligns with the trend towards whole foods but also allows for a more nutritious, home-cooked final product.

Chef-Created Dishes to Inspire:

Shredded King Oyster Mushroom Stem Carnitas: Utilize the meaty texture of oyster mushroom stems to create a plant-based take on this Mexican classic.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit: With its natural capacity to mimic pulled pork, jackfruit becomes the star in this smoky, savory dish.

Bean and Lentil Patty: Blending beans, lentils, and textured vegetable protein can yield a hearty, satisfying burger that rivals any meat-based counterpart.

Making the Right Choice

The decision between pre-packaged and chef-made plant-based meats ultimately hinges on a restaurant’s specific needs, values, and clientele. Pre-packaged options offer convenience, versatility and often brand recognition. Meanwhile, crafting plant-based meats in-house invites creativity and can provide a more nutritious, less processed offering that resonates with consumers seeking an authentic dining experience. By considering these factors, restaurants can strategically integrate plant-based meats into their menus, satisfying the diverse preferences of today’s diners.

About Plant Based World Pulse
Plant Based World Pulse is a go-to resource for the plant-based industry. Offering high-value insights, educational content, and the latest information year-round, it compliments the annual industry events Plant Based World Expo North America in New York City and Plant Based World Expo Europe in London.