Want to make your menu vegan friendly? These 7 tips will help you get started

Have you noticed the word VEGAN appearing at cafés, bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores and other food places across India? Wondering why so many businesses offer vegan options these days? Vegan food is the future and they know it! There’s no denying it anymore.

Don’t want to be left behind? Then start making your menu vegan friendly! 🤷🏻‍♀️

If you run a food businesses and would genuinely like to cater to vegan customers, here are a few tips you get started:

1. Understand the subject

Obviously you need to know exactly what vegan food means and how it differs from vegetarian, plant-based, Jain, gluten-free, organic, etc. Do your research and don’t mix these labels up. There might be some overlaps, but vegan cuisine has its own unique requirements that set it apart from the others.

2. Know your audience

Veganism goes way beyond food. Here’s how The Vegan Society defines it:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Some people go vegan for health benefits, to reduce their impact on the environment, to live a more joyful life, etc., and all these are good reasons. But the primary drive behind veganism is animal rights.

When you open yourself up to understanding the ethical perspective of people who choose this way of life, and the emotions and thoughts behind it, you’ll be able to serve them in the best way possible!

3. Research ingredients diligently

Some things are obvious. Like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey are not considered food by vegans. But there are plenty of unexpected animal derived ingredients you need to watch out for. Get familiar with them.

Here are some examples: casein/caseinate, carmine, gelatin, isinglass, whey, lard, beeswax. Also if there are numbered ingredients (like e441, e120, etc.) look them up. Many of them might be animal derived.

4. Watch out for Milk Solids

Sounds like I’m repeating myself? I know I already mentioned ingredients, but those effing milk solids need their own special mention. They sneak into everything!

If you’re using anything that’s packaged – bread, biscuits, chips (yup! 🤦🏻‍♀️), coconut milk powder, sauces, dips, premixes – confirm that they don’t contain milk solids or milk powder before using them in your vegan dishes.

5. Make your dairy alternatives in-house

Instead of depending on packaged plant-based milks, curds, dips, cheeses, mayo, etc., opt to make them in your own kitchen to the maximum extent possible. When made fresh and in small batches, not only will they make your beverages and foods tastier, they’ll also work out so much cheaper.

Don’t know how to make dairy alternatives? Start here.

6. You already serve vegan food

Making your menu vegan friendly doesn’t necessarily mean adding new dishes. You’d be surprised at how much food on your menu happens to be vegan by default! Or it might just be a matter of tweaking a few tiny things to veganise a bunch of your existing recipes.

Seriously, this vegan food thing so much easier than you think. haha

7. Educate your team well

Look, us vegans have naively trusted “vegan” labels before and been sorely disappointed (and extremely pissed off). So just because you claim a dish on your menu is vegan, we aren’t about to accept it at face value.

This is why it’s extremely important that your team knows exactly what vegan is. That way they won’t mess up the order. And they’ll be able to answer all our questions with clarity and confidence.

Thank you for making the world a better place one vegan meal at a time.
Custom Illustration by Anu Vidya and Gargee Kanhere of Zenith High on Art

Don’t be afraid. It’s very possible to make your food business Super Vegan Friendly!

You’ll find that in many cases plant-based food is easier to prepare and more cost effective too. So stop waiting and start exploring vegan cuisine right away. And get ready to be showered by love from the vegan community!

The animals thank you in advance. ☺️♥️

Susmitha Veganosaurus

Shorth haired Indian lady, beaming a wide smile. Flowers in the background. Vegan business coach and chef Susmitha Veganosaurus

“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.

If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.

Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”