Updated September 1, 2019. More garden centres are offering plant-based food amid a growing consumer demand for vegan and vegetarian meals.
Vegan-friendly menus attract more customers, according to Veganuary co-founder Jane Land. Last year, she told news outlet Horticulture Week that at garden centres, people are already “surrounded by plants so are obviously halfway there.”
Director of West Six Garden Centre in London, Louise Aldaheff, shares Land’s view. “In keeping with the garden centre — let’s celebrate plants,” she said to Horticulture Week. The garden centre removed meat from its menu and introduced a variety of vegan dishes in its place.
Aldaheff said that removing meat from the menu eliminates waste, storage, and hygiene issues. “From our point of view it makes a lot of sense, but you need someone with knowledge and experience to deliver a tasty menu,” she added.
West Six Garden Centre’s vegan options include berry flapjacks, banana bread, tamari-roasted mushrooms with cashew cream on toast, and vegan chorizo burgers complete with plant-based coleslaw. The food goes from farm to table in just two days.
Speaking about the transition to meat-free food, West Six Garden Centre staff member Leo Tsattalios said, “It has been a great journey. We’re happy with the results and the customers are happy with the results. We’re proud of what we’re selling. We’re selling vegan and vegetarian cuisine because we’re in a plant-based environment.”
Vegan Food Growing in Popularity
Dobbies Garden Centres in the UK is the latest to expand on its vegan food options. The garden centre chain now has a vegan breakfast stack, which features a hash brown patty, a Quorn patty, flat cap mushroom, grilled tomato, and baked beans. On occasion it also offers vegan cake slices, nondairy chocolate, and nut-based cheeses.
St John’s Garden Centre in Barnstaple, Devon, also offers vegan food. Plant-based coleslaw, vegan chocolate orange muffins, vegan chocolate raspberry cake, and plant-based Crofter’s pie are on the menu there.
The garden centre’s restaurant manager, Mike Horstead, discovered plant-based cuisine through his daughter’s love of vegan desserts. Horstead noted that adding a variety of vegan options to the garden centre menu was about “giving people a choice and catering for everybody.”