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Restaurants Embrace 'Veganuary' With New Menu Items

A promotion known as Veganuary—during which participants pledge to eat vegan foods for the first month of the year—appears to be gaining traction on U.S. foodservice menus, 10 years after the initiative was first launched in the U.K.

New York-based salad and wrap chain Just Salad, for example, has rolled out a new vegan salad created in partnership with plant-based chef Amanda Cohen (pictured above), owner of vegan restaurant Dirt Candy in New York City.

“We're proud to offer our guests a Michelin-star experience through the partnership that embodies our passion for flavorful, plant-forward food and commitment to quality ingredients,” said Jhonny Castro, culinary director at Just Salad.

The Dirt Candy salad, available through Jan. 31, is made with extra crisp romaine and arugula, organic sesame tofu, sliced cucumber, shaved broccoli, Tajin spiced pumpkin seeds, sliced pepperoncini, and Castelvetrano olives. The dressing includes Veganaise, nutritional yeast, minced Garlic, lemon juice, white vinegar, salt, chopped parsley, and water.

“Our collaboration stems from a mutual dedication to redefining dining experiences through plant-based innovation and sustainable practices,” said Cohen.

The Veganuary effort in the U.S. is getting a boost from a partnership between the U.K.-based nonprofit organization called Veganuary and a U.S. business called Vegans, Baby, which seeks to promote vegan dining. The two are collaborating to promote January as Vegan Dining Month in several cities across the U.S..

In addition to Just Salad, other New York City restaurants participating in Vegan Dining Month include:

• &Pizza, which has introduced two vegan pizzas at one of its New York City locations, featuring Daring Foods plant-based chicken;

• Hard Rock Café, which launched a Veganuary menu featuring Cauliflower Wings with vegan ranch sauce and Mushroom Primavera Pasta;

• Bareburger, which is partnering with dairy-free cheese company Armored Fresh to introduce new vegan menu items; and

• PLNT Burger, which launched two new grilled Chik'N sandwiches featuring patties from Meati Foods.

Portland, Oregon-based ice cream chain Salt & Straw, which operates scoop shops on the West Coast and in Florida, is also among the foodservice chains participating in the Veganuary promotion. It rolled out The Dairy-Free Decadence Series at all locations featuring five vegan flavors: Toasted Oat Milk & Cookies; Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting; Bananas Foster with Candied Pecans; Marionberry Oatmeal Cobbler; and Death By Chocolate Chocolate Cake.

Some food retailers are also promoting Veganuary, including Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market, which is highlighting its plant-based product assortment and promoting offers on plant-based products such as Prime Roots, which makes deli meat alternatives using koji, a fungus similar to mushrooms.

Last year, more than 700,000 people worldwide signed up online to participate in eating vegan for the month, and 2.3 million people visited the Veganuary website. In addition, more than 820 new vegan products were launched.

In the U.S., 446 businesses launched new vegan products last January, and U.S. restaurants introduced 209 new menu items, according to Veganuary.

Veganuary also promotes at-home vegan dining, and recently added a section on its website offering vegan recipes from all over the world. It also offers a free downloadable cookbook featuring vegan recipes from celebrities including Evanna Lynch, Venus Williams, Mayim Bialik, Eric Adams, Alex Blue Davis, and others.

Related: Brunch, Global Cuisines Seen Driving 2024 Foodservice Sales; Albertsons Launches Private Label Frozen Line.