By: Rafael Tonon
After hitting groceries by storm, now plant-based products are conquering your next plate – even in a fancy restaurant
Since the end of November, the diners who visit Flore, a San Francisco-based restaurant, located in Castro neighborhood, can order scrambled eggs accompanied by sauteed spinach and mushrooms from the menu. But the “Just Scramble Flore”, as the dish was named, is not actually made with actual chicken eggs. Instead, it is a plant-based product recently launched by Hampton Creek, the American food startup which wants to change the way we eat – without the need to exploit animals.
The research process took nearly five years to end up in a product that turns mung bean protein, canola oil, water and salt into something resembling a fluffy pile of eggs.
“This is, for the first time ever, scrambled eggs made from plants,” said Bruce Friedrich, co-founder and executive director of the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for plant-based foods, to SF Chronicle.
And it is the first time ever that scrambled eggs made from plants are served in a restaurant as well.
From the shelves of grocery stores, plant-based products are now hitting the restaurants’ menus by adding a punch of technology to help them replace the animal-based proteins in their menus. Chefs and restaurants’ owners want to overcome the not-so-successful recipes that have tarnished the image of vegetarian food in many restaurants around the world (usually seen as bland and tasteless). And they now rely on the new food technology companies for that.
Impossible Foods, a company based in Redwood City’s, has designed meat-free burgers to appeal to those who want a simulacrum of beef and have distributed its creation to many restaurants across the U.S. The first one to add the “bloody” veggie burger to the menu was chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi (in July of 2016). Now the bleeding-but-not-bleating Burger is available in dozens of restaurants.
This movement is related to a willing necessity of diners who want to consume a more conscious food, not only environmentalists and vegans. With nutrition and wellness taking center stage in the food and beverage industry, a consistent pattern is bringing this practice to kitchens and menus.
With the increased availability and variety of vegetarian and vegan meal options in restaurants, diners are slowly embracing animal-free diets as a conscious effort.
And the products designed by these tech-savvy companies can be a solution to fill this gap also in the menus – not only in the market’s gondolas.
If it is expected to see a continued rise in flexitarianism, a plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat, this means that the restaurants looking for their costumer’s needs will embrace more and more plant-based dishes. And, as it seems, they may want to hitch a hike on these industrialized products (that have not stopped reaching the market) for this.