The following information can help you make sense of what goes into vegan and plant-based event planning and how your business can benefit from these diets.
Event planning is already difficult and requires a lot of know-how. With the global food environment shifting to a plant-based or vegan diet to lessen the effects of global warming, it can be a welcome sight to clients when you offer vegan options at your events.
Just as one would cater to allergies, religious beliefs, or preferences, clients expect you to accommodate veganism.
What’s The Difference Between Vegan And Plant-Based?
Practically speaking, there is no difference. Depending on who you talk to, you might hear that “plant-based” includes some non-vegan elements, but I don’t think so. At least, not anymore. These days, the terms are often used interchangeably.
In my experience, the term veganism has a history, including connotations of ethical considerations, animal rights activism, and even negative stereotypes. Plant-based is a newer, more fashionable term centered around health-consciousness and climate-change considerations.
I’d recommend using “plant-based,” but it actually can depend on your client and attendees. And when it comes to marketing on your website, use both terms for search engine optimization.
Pros of Vegan and Plant-Based Event Planning:
By offering the option to cater to an ever-growing vegan and vegetarian customer base, you can elevate your company because you might be one of few local caterers to do so. This is highly beneficial, as your business might own the local vegan or plant-based event market.
Not only will you cater to your local market, but you will also be making a difference in the environment. If you can grow your catering company enough to solely work with vegan or plant-based events, you are indirectly helping the natural world by avoiding the use of animal-based products.
Cons of Vegan and Plant-Based Event Planning:
If you are attempting to cater to vegan or plant-based events for the first time, you might incur costs that you have not dealt with before. These costs are mostly related to food and beverage production. Plant-based event planning requires special ingredients, trained vegan-savvy kitchen staff, and sustainable event decorations. The specificity of these elements makes them hard to acquire and will require some effort from your side.
By solely catering to vegan or plant-based diets, you are also excluding the majority share of the local market. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 5% of Americans described themselves as vegetarian, whereas 3% described themselves as vegans. Considering that this is a tiny percentage of the total market, you should definitely consider if you are willing to take the risk of entering this super-specific market. And yet, that’s still over 11 million people.
Vegan Junk Food Or Plant-Based Whole Food?
You’ll figure this out with your clients, of course, but it’s worth noting the breadth of plant-based options out there. Plant-based event planning can mean junk food like french fries and Beyond Meat burgers. It could also mean whole foods – unprocessed ingredients, healthy and often raw ingredients.
For vegans, it’s exceedingly disappointing to be served oily antipasti as the “vegan option.” Those days are long gone. Now, plant-based catering encompasses a wide range of expectations, so when working with your client, dig into what they mean when they say vegan or plant-based. It will absolutely guide which caterer you partner with.
Honey is probably the best example. Many plant-based diets include honey, while most vegans won’t touch it. You’ll need to check with your client and make sure the caterer and baker know the constraints.
Other Plant-Based Event Planning Considerations
These terms can be loaded with expectations beyond the food. Often, guests with plant-based diets expect organic produce. Vegan events will expect an animal-free environment, including no animal products used in decor or attire. At the same time, a different crowd might want raw food options while others accept milk with their coffee.
Or perhaps their focus on eco-friendly concepts extends to invitations – you’ll need to use recycled paper or even electronic invites only. And speaking of recycling, you may need to have recycling bins on hand.
I guess what I’m trying to stress here is that in the 21st century, plant-based event planning can be complicated. So ask a ton of questions. So whether you are trying to expand your catering ventures or support the vegan and plant-based cause, you should know what you are getting yourself into.