Plant-based protein options are becoming more widely available as the popularity of faux meats has begun to surge.
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Now, food service provider Aramark says it will offer Beyond Meat burgers, sausages and other items on its menus at schools, hospitals, ballparks and other businesses. The deal has the potential to bring Beyond Meat’s foods to many new diners, as Aramark said it serves nearly 2 billion meals each year.
Aramark’s Beyond Meat offerings include a gumbo bowl with Beyond Sausage for hospital patients, a Caribbean-inspired Beyond Burger with black beans, avocado, pineapple and Sriracha sold at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Beyond Sausage with fried shallots at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and Beyond Sausage brats at Citi Field in Queens, New York.
“The trick for us is to develop and offer unique meatless options that taste great and appeal to consumers who might want to try something new and those who follow plant-forward diets,” said Heidi Hogan, Aramark’s vice president of product development and culinary innovation.
The company said it has found that 60 percent of consumers want to reduce their meat consumption. Many of them pointed to health and weight management as their reasons for cutting back on meat.
“Early on, we understood that consumer preferences were driving a need for quality plant-forward offerings and our culinary team has been working with a broad range of plant-based products to create more enticing menu choices,” Hogan said.
The announcement came just days after Aramark competitor Sodexo announced a partnership with Beyond Meat competitor Impossible Foods.
Aramark said it had already been working on a “plant-forward initiative” aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The company said it has developed more than 200 new plant-based recipes and that 30 percent of its menu offerings are now vegan or vegetarian.
The food service provider has also recently partnered with plant-based egg replacement maker JUST and Ocean Hugger Foods, which makes plant-based tuna alternative Ahimi, for temporary additions to its menus at some higher education and corporate facilities.
Beyond Meat has partnered with a number of different eateries to offer its products, including Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Tim Hortons and Dunkin’.
The plant-based protein maker has also been looking for other meats it can stand in for. Beyond Meat recently began selling a ground beef replacement and reportedly has plans for bacon and steak substitutes.