6 Menu Must-Haves + The Impact of Plant-Forward Eating

August 17ᵗʰ, 2022
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The needs of today’s menus have changed for many reasons. That means it’s more crucial than ever to find hardworking, low-labor product and ingredient solutions that can be used across your menu. The recipes and insights listed here will help you reduce inventory, increase profit margins and ease back-of-house labor.

Biscuit sandwich with guacamole, bacon, eggs and salsa on a parchment paper

1. Breakfast Sandwiches

Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Sandwiches »

These crowd-pleasers are extremely versatile, and as consumers continue to enjoy breakfast items throughout the day, they make perfect sense for most menus.


of consumers ranked breakfast sandwiches as one of their favorite breakfast items.¹

Waffle-biscuit burgers with melty cheese, chimichurri sauce and chips on the side.

2. Burgers (with alternate protein choices)

Chorizo Chimichurri Waffle Burgers »

There’s nothing like a classic, customizable burger — and having different protein options such as turkey patties or plant-based choices allows you to appeal to more patrons.


of consumers eat burgers away from home at least once a month.²

Pigs in a blanket wrapped with biscuits on a granite counter with chili dipping sauce on the side.

3. Shareable Apps and Sides

Italian Pigs in a Blanket with Calabrian Chili Dipping Sauce »

With safety concerns over sharing food on the decline, diners are ready to pass the plate and try new dishes.


of consumers plan to order more appetizers to share with a group in the wake of the pandemic.³

Salad in a white bowl with greens, apples, cranberries and cornbread croutons sitting next to a napkin with dressing

4. Super Salads

Cornbread Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette »

Salads offer many benefits to operators: they use lots of ingredients often already on hand, and they’re seasonal and customizable. Plus, since they can be made with local ingredients, they deliver on the trend of farm-to-table eating.


of consumers say they feel locally-grown and produced food is the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious food available.⁴

Tofu, cheese, tomato and sprouts biscuit sandwich topped with pepper and salt

5. Plant-Based Choices

Tofu Breakfast Sandwiches »

Whether in salads or sandwiches, diners continue to look for and expect plant-forward options on menus.

Plant-based foods in the U.S. are a $7 billion market.⁵

Menu Must Haves

6. Pizza and Pasta

Gluten-Free Grilled Chicken Peanut Noodle Salad »

These items deliver on all kinds of consumer demands ranging from comfort classics to customizable choices.


of consumers say they eat pizza at least monthly.⁶

The Impact of Plant-Forward Eating on Healthcare and C&U Segments

The call for more plant-based foods has been on the rise for many years, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Recently, plant-based food sales grew 2x faster than overall food sales.⁵ This movement has unique implications on two very important foodservice segments: Healthcare and On-Campus Dining at Colleges & Universities.

Vegan Ranch Dressing. Dairy-Free Avocado and Acai Superfood Bowl. Dairy Free Triple Berry Parfaits Made With Dairy Free Yoplait ParfaitPro

Growing Satisfaction in Healthcare

A recent report found that in healthcare settings, plant-forward menus can lead to an increase in patient and employee satisfaction rates. 83% of diners in hospitals say they would choose plant-forward options at least sometimes.⁷ Now would be a great time to consider bringing new recipes like these to your facility’s menus.

Dairy Free Leads the Way on Campus

43% of Gen Z say they rarely or never drink traditional dairy milk, while 41% say they drink alternative milks either weekly or daily. ⁸ This preference extends to their food choices as well.

FREE WEBINAR Plant-Forward Eating — Translating Trends Into Menu Solutions
Chef Kevin Relf from General Mills joins Marie Molde, health & wellness expert at Datassential, to discuss how this shift is impacting foodservice menu planning across channels, as well as deliver exciting new menu inspiration for your own operation.
Watch the video »

¹QSR Magazine, Sept., 2021
²Datassential Keynote Report: Burgers, 2021
³2021 Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report
⁴Forager Survey, Oct., 2020
⁵Good Food Institute, 2021
⁶Foodservice Director, March 2022
⁷Facilities Management Magazine, Why Plant-Forward, Practice Greenhealth
⁸2022 Foodservice Industry Overview, April 2022