Who better to taste test some of our new vegan products launching for the festive season than our own resident Bidfood vegans from the Business Support Centre in Slough. Also, to prove vegan products can appeal to a wider pool of consumers, we invited a meat and dairy lover along to give a wider perspective of some of our new vegan products. Find out what they thought of each product and which they will crown their favourite.
Vegan tried and tested
John became vegan 20 years ago so was really ahead of the trend that seems to have exploded over the last couple of years. John feels independent establishments have always been prepared to adapt dishes to make them vegan if they did not always offer a vegan option and feels it’s the mainstream establishments where the battle needs to continue. However, John is seeing some great progress on the high street with the likes of vegan burgers at KFC and the vegan sausage roll at Greggs.
John is interested in more meat alternatives at Christmas rather than the traditional vegan option of the nut roast.
What really excites John is how store cupboard staples are being processed and used to create innovative new vegan products, for example chickpea water to make meringues.
When choosing where to eat out, John looks for breadth and quality of vegan choices on the menu.
When Antonia became vegan four years ago she found eating out limiting and boring, especially over the festive period where there seemed to be lots of vegetarian choices but very little in terms of vegan. Since then she feels things have dramatically improved and thinks that the vegan ‘honeymoon period’ where people are grateful for any vegan offer, is over and consumers are starting to expect a wide range of vegan options as standard. In the future she would like to see more vegan “meat” alternatives and is interested in banana blossom, which is a relatively new plant-based protein hitting the UK market.
When it comes to Christmas, again Antonia would like vegan “meat” alternatives and gravy options so she can enjoy a plant-based but traditional Christmas dinner. In terms of desserts, Antonia believes there is a lot of room for improvement as most vegan desserts seem to be based around dark chocolate. When eating out Antonia says the key to a successful vegan option is when it tastes so good it actually appeals to all consumers and not just vegans.
Jonny is not vegan and even though he loves meat and dairy, over the last year or so he’s been making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of meat and animal products he consumes for both health and environmental reasons. When dining out Jonny feels the variety and quality of vegan options have improved so much in the last year making him more inclined to choose vegan options.
Find out the favourites below!
Classic Cuisine spiced cauliflower en croute
The stand-out vegan main course, with all three of our tasters choosing it as their favourite….
• John: It has a nice spicy kick to it and a really lovely flaky pastry
• Antonia: Full of flavour and a great pastry, I would 100% order this off a menu
• Jonny: I love the flavours and quality of the pastry; it’s really well spiced with a little bit of heat
Quality Cuisine Portobello mushroom, sweet potato & stout open tart
• John: Visually a great looking main course with a really rich stout flavour
• Antonia: It has a great stout flavour giving it a traditional pie taste. A warming and comforting option which would be perfect for winter menus
• Jonny: Full of flavour, complimented by the big chunks of Portobello mushrooms and sweet potato
Classic Cuisine roasted butternut squash stuffed with Mediterranean vegetables
• John: The filling and breadcrumbs were really tasty
• Antonia: Great Mediterranean flavours; overall it’s a great tasting main and the portion was huge
• Jonny: A very generous portion. The squash and the roasted vegetables worked really well together and the breadcrumbs on top gave a really nice texture
Premium Selection Belgian chocolate & clementine torte
• John: Great flavour which reminded me of a chocolate orange club chocolate bar. Really nice texture and not too heavy
• Antonia: I love this dessert; chocolate orange is a great flavour combination. You would never know this was vegan
• Jonny: Really smooth chocolate orange mousse on a lovely, crunchy chocolate biscuit base. A very close second for my favourite dessert
Vegan sticky toffee pudding
• John: Very indulgent and tasty; It would be fantastic with vegan vanilla ice cream
• Antonia: The first vegan sticky toffee pudding I have ever tried and I absolutely love it!
• Jonny: Delicious! It has the great classic flavour but doesn’t seem as dense as other sticky toffee puddings; it was lovely and soft
Vegan caramelised biscuit cheesecake
The stand-out vegan dessert with all three of our tasters choosing it as their favourite
• John: Light and refreshing with a great flavour combination of biscuit and caramel
• Antonia: You wouldn’t even know it was vegan; lovely flavour and texture
• Jonny: If you love the flavour of Biscoff you will love this dessert. It’s a fantastic dessert with a great texture with the biscuit base, cheesecake and crumb on top with caramel throughout. Smooth and sweet