What Operators Should Know About Fryers and Meatless Options

As more people are turning towards a plant-based or vegan lifestyle, many restaurants are starting to include meatless options on their menus. While this can be a great option, it’s important for foodservice businesses to remember that it’s best to cook plant-based meals in separate fryers.

Think of this preparation process similar to how restaurants have to treat gluten-free items by not preparing them on surfaces that have touched foods containing gluten. It’s very important for those that have celiac disease and can’t tolerate any form of gluten in their foods.

Customers that are consuming plant-based or vegan menu options deserve this same consideration. That includes restaurants having a separate fryer and other equipment for meatless options.

Why People Are Making Meatless Choices

According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, it’s estimated that in a national survey, around 46 percent of Americans eat at least some vegetarian meals out at restaurants. That’s almost half of the restaurant-going population that enjoys eating meatless when dining out. As a restaurateur, it’s ideal to help accommodate those people by providing some vegan and vegetarian options.

There are many reasons people eat plant-based or meatless. It could be for dietary and health reasons. They may feel passionate about not consuming anything with animal products. They could be concerned about environmental factors since meat production generally uses more energy than plant-based products. Or they may just enjoy occasionally having a non-meat meal.

Regardless of someone’s personal beliefs about the foods that they eat, having the right vegan and vegetarian options for meatless meals is going to expand a restaurant’s clientele.

Cross-Contamination Between Foods

The biggest problem with using the same fryer for meat and non-meat options in a restaurant is cross-contamination. The most common way that this happens is on a flat-top grill or with a fryer. People who are used to eating a meatless diet can sometimes become ill, or experience gastrointestinal distress when they accidentally consume foods that become tainted with meat during cooking. Or if they’re avoiding meat by-products for religious reasons, it can become a public relations issue if their vegan meal is fried in the same oil meat products were in. When customers order meatless, they want to be assured it’s not going to be cross-contaminated with animal products in any way.

More restaurants can make sure that those meatless options aren’t touching meat-based ones in the process of preparation. That requires separate prep stations and cooking equipment, including separate fryers and frying oil.

Restaurants can help increase their profits by providing meal options to this booming meatless population. Statistics show that more people have a growing curiosity about plant-based meat. Growing your base clientele in the foodservice industry is all about giving people more options to expand what you are offering and serving their needs.

Let our experts at Pitco help you figure out which fryer you need to take your establishment one step closer to being as inclusive as possible.


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Topics: Foods & Trends, Fryers