CHICAGO — An estimated 31% of Americans regularly practice meat-free days, according to a Stratum Nutrition report. And companies like Walmart are asking their suppliers to focus on plant-based product development, while Nestle wants to ride the plant-based trend that they believe is only going to grow.
Convenience-store retailers have gotten in on the growing vegan trend through a variety of packaged food products. But a few have also embraced veganism on their foodservice menu.
Here's a look at five vegan c-store menu items that caught our eyes recently ...
1. Food Fight Grocery
Based: Portland, Ore.
No. of Units: 2
Food Fight Grocery features its staff members’ best recipes for in-house culinary innovation. As a limited-time offer, the independent concept offered Rochelle’s Vegan Musubi, a Hawaiian snack layering a grilled protein on a block of sushi rice wrapped in seaweed. Customers had a choice of three flavors: vegan ham; fried rice with aged tofu, which was also gluten-free; and spicy gochujang soy curls.
2. New Deli
Based: Venice, Calif.
Vegan celebrity chef Matthew Kenney is revisiting the concept of a convenience store with New Deli. The store’s foodservice program is fueled by the restaurateur’s sister plant-based concept, Make Out. Last summer, New Deli added Kelp Noodle Cacio e Pepe with snap peas, crispy cured olives and cashew cream.
Based: Tulsa, Okla.
In early 2018, QuikTrip (QT) rolled out a limited-time-only vegan burrito. The roller-grill item combined beans, corn and poblano peppers. One Twitter user praised the item, tweeting, “Please don’t let this be one of the items that disappears from the stores. Love finding something besides fruit at #QT for a #Vegan.” No word from QT on whether the burrito made the permanent menu.
5. Small Mart
Based: New Orleans
Small Mart, an independent convenience store and deli in New Orleans’ French Quarter, offers a vegan-friendly foodservice program. The store serves a daily vegan lunch special, street food and baked goods. Its vegan Chaat Bowl tosses together pakoras—an Indian fritter—samosas, chutney, carrots, cilantro and puffed rice.