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The ultimate guide to vegan mobile catering in the UK | increase market share and attract customers

All over the UK right now, mobile catering entrepreneurs are looking for fresh new ways to increase their market share and attract new customers to their food business. An easy way to appeal to a modern audience is to offer delicious vegan street food.

With all the current talk about health and sustainability, increasing numbers of people are becoming interested in vegan diets. Intrigued? Then read our ultimate go-to guide to vegan mobile catering now.

Packed with everything you need to know, this guide is essential reading for anyone looking to make an impact in the mobile catering game. It’s got in-depth guidance on veganism, the different foods you’ll need to stock, new menu ideas, and so much more.

There’s plenty to inspire the next chapter in your business evolution. Just make sure you’ve got catering trailer insurance to keep your vehicle, fixtures and fittings safe, too.

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Chapter 1: A brief introduction to veganism

Chapter 2: 5 reasons to get into vegan mobile catering

Chapter 3: 8 simple swaps to make your menu just right for vegans

Chapter 4: Inspiring vegan menu ideas to woo fans from far and wide

Chapter 5: Keep on top of food risks with these handy tips

Chapter 6: Your essential vegan catering checklist


Chapter 1: A brief introduction to veganism

Veganism is the belief that humans should avoid exploiting or killing animals. While the term is most commonly used to refer to those who eat plant-based diets, it also extends to other areas of life, too. For example, vegans will often avoid animal derived products such as leather and products tested on animals.

For mobile catering businesses seeking to attract vegan consumers, it can mean big changes. All animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy, and substances derived from these such as gelatine and lactose must be removed from the menu. Instead, you’ll be looking for ways to add grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables and a host of other plant-based products to your offering.

While there are similarities between veganism and vegetarianism, the key difference is that vegetarians will often include dairy products and eggs within their diet, while vegans will not.

Sometimes it can be confusing to work out what is, and what is not, vegan food, so we’ve listed these below for quick and easy reference.

Vegans DO NOT eat:

  • Any type of meat. That includes chicken, fish, molluscs and crustaceans.
  • Animal milk, cheese, yoghurt, and cream.
  • Eggs, or products containing eggs such as mayonnaise.
  • Honey, gelatine, beeswax or other additives that are of animal origin.
  • Alcohol that uses animal products as either an ingredient or in processing.

Vegans DO eat:

  • Cereals and grains.
  • Vegetables including potatoes.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Plant milks including almond, soya and coconut.
  • Soy and soy products like tofu.
  • Fat such as oil or vegan margarine.
  • Pulses and legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans.
  • Herbs, salt and spices.

There are many reasons why people choose to follow a vegan diet with a recent YouGov survey showing the majority of vegans choosing plant-based diets on ethical grounds.

In recent years, veganism has also been promoted as a way to achieve an eco-friendlier diet and lifestyle. Concerns over the harm caused to our planet by animal-based diets has led many more people to at least introduce more plant-based options into their diet.

Health grounds are another popular reason. According to the Vegan Society, studies have linked veganism to lower body mass index and lower rates of obesity. This, in turn, is linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lower rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Indeed, 70% of vegans claim their health has improved as a result of the change in diet.

Chapter 2: 5 reasons to get into vegan mobile catering

Dining options for vegans when they’re out and about are getting better all the time. Back in 2017 the Vegan Society launched the Vegan on the Go campaign that has seen the availability, quality and selection of vegan food go from strength to strength. Wondering whether to get into vegan-friendly mobile catering? Well, here are five compelling reasons to get started today!

  1. Veganism is more popular than ever before
    The numbers of people becoming vegan or adding plant-based products to their lives are growing. In their recent Future of Food report, supermarket giant Sainsbury’s calculated that, by 2025, there would be a 400% rise in the number of people forgoing meat.
  2. Veganism is better for the environment
    Scientists at the University of Oxford believe eating a vegan diet could be the ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your environmental impact on earth. By cutting meat and dairy products from their diet, someone could reduce their carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.
  3. Vegan food provides your customers with more choice
    Food truck customers love to try something a bit different. By providing vegan options that are inventive and packed full of flavour, you won’t be putting anyone off.
  4. Vegan food could give you a creative edge over the competition
    Whatever type of food or cuisine you specialise in, adding a vegan twist to the menu will reinvigorate your business offering.  
  5. Vegan food can reduce risk in your catering set up
    By steering clear of potentially high-risk foods such as raw meats, fish, dairy and poultry, you’ll be able to cut back on some food-borne risks to customers. That said, vegan foods can contain ingredients that some people are allergic to including nuts, soy and wheat. Food safety and hygiene is your number one priority no matter what food you serve.

If you want to be in with a chance staying ahead of such changes, it’s vital to have the right catering trailer insurance in place. Give the helpful team at Mobilers a call today and get a quote today.

Thinking of ways to improve vegan options in eateries in your local area? Then head over to hear the Vegan Society’s tips at Veganise Your Town. Not only will you find a handy guide to help you move into vegan catering but you can also pick up Vegans Catered for Here stickers. A great way to advertise your vegan-friendly credentials in your van and get people talking.

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Chapter 3: 8 simple swaps to make your menu just right for vegans

Just because you want to get involved in the vegan success story it doesn’t mean you’ve got to throw out everything on your old menu and begin again from scratch. There are many simple changes you can follow to make your food stand out for the hungry vegan hordes.

  1. Swap beef, chicken, pork, lamb and fish stock for vegetable stock.
  2. Soy milk or other alternatives such as almond, coconut, rice, oat or hazelnut are a great replacement for animal milk. It’s worth experimenting with a few kinds to see which your customers prefer.
  3. Replace dairy butter, cream, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream with plant-based alternatives.
  4. Honey is made by bees so isn’t eaten by most vegans. Use maple syrup, golden syrup or agave syrup instead.
  5. It’s difficult to tell the difference between pastry made using vegan margarine and pastry made using animal fats. Ready made vegan pastry is also now widely available.
  6. To replace those protein-packed meats, you’ll need alternatives like vegan sausages, burgers, and mince. Or use tofu, beans, peas, chickpeas, nuts, brown rice, quinoa, oats and seeds. There are phenomenally tasty meat alternatives being produced all the time and this is a huge area for growth. Although not all vegans enjoy these meat substitutes.
  7. A great idea for vegan scrambled eggs is to use scrambled tofu cooked with plenty of seasoning.
  8. Instead of using eggs in your baked goods there are now commercial egg replacement powders available. You might also use vegetable oil, fruit or vegetable puree, tofu, corn starch or vegan yoghurt. Vegan campaign group Viva! has lots of clever replacement ideas and recipes.

When you’re looking to replace items in your stock cupboard with vegan alternatives, you’ll need to pay close attention to labels. If a product label says ‘may contain traces’ of a non-vegan ingredient, this means it’s not been created in a vegan factory. But this doesn’t prevent it from being suitable for vegans.

A simple way to check if a product is suitable for vegans is whether any of its ingredients come from an animal. If they do, then it’s not vegan. If not, you’re good to go! If you’re at all unsure, then look out for a vegan label or contact the manufacturer. Look out for the Vegan Trademark on products if you want to be absolutely sure that products are completely vegan.

If you serve alcohol as part of your mobile catering business then you’ll also want to be aware of non-vegan additives. Brewmasters and winemakers sometimes include animal ingredients in their products. Use the helpful online search function to make sure any beer, wine or other product you serve is vegan friendly, too.

It’s also important to remember that veganism is not just ‘healthy eating’. You can obviously eat a great, healthy diet as a vegan. But many vegans also love chips, burgers, desserts and all kinds of treats. And that may well be what they’re coming to your food truck to search for. So don’t just think ‘health food’ when you think about vegan food – vegans love cakes, burgers and pizza just as much as anyone else!

Chapter 4: Inspiring vegan menu ideas to woo fans from far and wide

One great thing about running your own mobile catering business is that you can customise your menu any way you like. Are your customers crying out for something sweet? Or do you want to hit them with a delicious tangy twist?

Then, no problem. Anything is possible with just a few tweaks to your ingredients list. There are so many vegan recipes out there you’re really only limited by your imagination. Here’s just a smattering to get even the most dedicated meat lover queuing up for your vegan treats.

  • Mexican pulled jackfruit burritos
    Mexican Street food is known for pushing the boundaries on the street food scene, so why not change things up with some punchy pulled jackfruit burritos? With all that spice, rice, beans and zingy lime mayo, they’re hunky, hearty and totally delicious!
  • Warming spinach and turmeric tarka daal
    Indian food has loads of delicious vegan options perfect for mobile caterers. From aromatic daals and curries to tandoori cauliflower steaks that will make you weep with meat-free joy, your customers will flock back for more. With no nasties, added preservatives, or refined sugar, it’s just good, solid wholesome food.
  • Dirty vegan burgers
    Few people can resist the pull of a truly great burger. With meaty versions being a food truck staple for many years now, it’s clear that a vegan version could soon pull in a cult following. The key is to create interesting variations on your basic burger offering. Think of burgers offering extra fillings like ‘pulled jackfruit’, extra vegan cheese, and ‘vegan bacon’. If you want something to get your taste buds going then take a look at this bad boy from The Nil By Mouth Foodie blog. Filled to the brim with bourbon maple caramelised onions, creamy queso sauce, melted smoky applewood cheese and BBQ tempeh burgers, we think we’re in love!
  • Hot & Fruity Caribbean coleslaw
    Get inspired with this wonderfully colourful Caribbean coleslaw. Say goodbye to heavy, dairy-laden slaw and give your taste buds a treat with this hot and healthy salad side. Pile your food counter high with vegan munch including lentil burgers, chickpeas, and roti and success is assured.
  • Rainbow hummus
    If you’re searching for a colourful punch then look no further than this delicious rainbow hummus. It really is smashed to utter perfection!
  • Vegan Vietnamese noodle bowls
    When it comes to South Asian-inspired vegan fare then you’re spoilt for choice. Crispy and caramelised tofu? Check. Fresh, zingy flavours? Check. Guilt-free deliciousness? Check. Bliss indeed!
  • Vegan doner kebab
    A warmed pita crammed full of spiced vegan kebab ‘meat’, shredded salad, hummus, homemade tzatziki and chilli sauce. Bonus: you don’t need to be drunk to enjoy one. There is lots of scope for putting your own spin on vegan doner kebabs. This great tasting recipe uses seitan but there are plenty of other ideas out there.
  • Vegan doughnuts
    Yes, these dairy-free doughnuts are amazing. And if you get them right then vegans (and everyone else) will drive from miles around to try them.

Just like coming up with the perfect menu, when arranging catering trailer insurance, you deserve a bespoke package tailored to your business. Speak to an insurance specialist to make sure all your needs are met.

Chapter 5: Keep on top of food risks with these handy tips

Food safety and hygiene are a big part of managing any risks when it comes to your mobile catering business. Here are some quick tips to help you avoid cross-contamination between vegan and non-vegan foods:

  1. Use the right chopping board
    Many mobile catering kitchens use colour-coding to make cleaning easier and stop the spread of contaminants. In most kitchens, brown is used for vegetables, green for salads and fruit, and white for bakery. You also want a separate chopping board for tofu or other meat-replacements.
  2. Use the right knife and other utensils
    Again colour coding is key. And, just as with chopping boards, they need to be cleaned thoroughly.
  3. Gloves and handwashing
    Good hygiene is vital. And if you’re switching between vegan and non-vegan food then you need to make doubly sure of this.
  4. Deep fat fryers
    Vegan food should never be fried in the same oil as non-vegan food.
  5. Food preparation areas
    It probably goes without saying, but all areas should be disinfected before using them for vegan food.

Remember, running a vegan mobile catering truck isn’t without its risks. For more ways to stay safe whilst mobile catering, read our blog on gas safety for food trucks. Ensure you’ve got adequate catering trailer insurance before you head out to any event.

Chapter 6: Your essential vegan catering checklist

Boosting your vegan credentials as a mobile catering business doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow this simple checklist to get started:

  • Review your menu. Could you tweak dishes or create vegan menu items using ingredients you currently stock?
  • Get creative and think up some exciting new vegan dishes. Make sure they’re still in keeping with the rest of your menu.
  • Check your drinks list. Are all drinks vegan-friendly?
  • Check your condiments and sides. A customer who asks if something is vegan needs to get a quick and accurate answer.
  • Get your regular customers in for a taste test or offer a discount on new menu items.
  • Speak with your food supplier. Specialist vegan ingredients, such as vegan cheese, cream, plant-based meats or desserts might need to be ordered well in advance.
  • Take steps to avoid any cross-contamination between vegan and non-vegan foods.
  • Clearly label vegan dishes on your menu.
  • Are there other vegan friendly products you can use in your business? From cleaning products and catering supplies, if you want your business to really speak to the vegan market then it might take more than some new menu ideas.
  • Train your staff on how to help vegans find something great to eat.
  • Do you need to tweak your brand to show your vegan-credentials?
  • Get the message out there. Advertise your new vegan options far and wide.
  • Tap into the local vegan market. Vegans are a supportive bunch and could really help your business if you show you’re serious about offering great vegan food.

A Mobilers checklist wouldn’t be a checklist if we didn’t remind you about the need for keeping your business protected with the right catering trailer insurance. Give the team a call and get it sorted today. Remember, from catering trailer insurance to food safety advice, specialist knowledge is always vital.

So that’s our ultimate guide to vegan mobile catering. From vegan menu ideas to protecting your new business venture with catering trailer insurance, there’s a lot for you to consider here. Got any other vegan tips? Let us know!

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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