Why we’re proud of our Vegetarian Society accreditation

Cucina has just become a member of The Vegetarian Society Food & Drink Guild. Why did we think it was so important to go through this rigorous accreditation process? First, let me say I don’t believe in collecting badges like this for their own sake. Any kind of endorsement or industry partnership should, I believe, reflect a brand’s own values.

We don’t enter into many industry partnerships, but when we do, it will be because our values overlap. This is why I am so pleased to be continuing our partnership with Love British Food. (We’ll have a lot more to say about this very soon). This new vegetarian accreditation fits our brand because of the care and thought that goes into all our vegetarian dishes.

The Vegetarian Society is respected around the world as the only logo to recognise the ethical preferences of vegetarians. This logo on our vegetarian products tells the consumer that these are free from animal fats and contain no GMOs.

Not too many years ago, it was fairly standard for restaurants to carry a very limited range of vegetarian options. These items, usually hastily conceived add-ons to the main menu, were characterised by how unimaginative they were. It was almost as if restaurateurs had the idea that vegetarians couldn’t appreciate great tasting food and that they’d be happy with some hastily slung-together concoction.

The world certainly has moved on, but although things have changed for the better, vegetarian menus are still a bit of a mixed bag. When you do see a good vegetarian menu, you tend to notice it, which is an indication itself that we’re not quite there yet.

The main reason I am so pleased to have gained accreditation from The Vegetarian Society is that it reflects our approach to vegetarian food. We’ve always sought to make sure we keep these options tasty and varied so that our vegetarian customers stay interested and keep coming back. As school caterers we have a captive market so we have a responsibility to focus heavily on variety and interesting flavour combinations in familiar formats.

And it’s also very important to remember that even though an item might be meat-free, that doesn’t mean it’s just for vegetarians.

One of the other exciting things we’re doing at the moment is helping to create school gardens and allotments to produce herbs and vegetables for their restaurant kitchens – but more about that in a future post.

In the meantime, I wish you a happy and relaxing Easter,

Steve

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