The 5 foods that are NOT plant based ingredients.

October 24, 2019
October 24, 2019 PenelopeFry

The 5 foods that are NOT plant based ingredients.

not plant based

Do you know how to keep customers happy when they request plant based foods? Simply avoid these five ingredients! 


They put bacon in my vegetarian pasta! Then it took 20 minutes to get a new one. Avoid this place!
Kim M – Trip Advisor Reviewer

This resource gives you an overview. Download your kitchen poster version today!


Why are plant based ingredients important?

Do you want to risk: 

  • bad customer reviews? 
  • customers never coming back?
  • giving refunds?
  • wasting food and time remaking meals for unhappy customers? 
  • sending someone to hospital because of a food allergy?

No? Then it’s important that you know which ingredients are NOT plant-based!


What types of ingredients are not plant-based?

There are 5 types of foods that are not plant-based.  If your menu has these ingredients, don’t worry. Substitutes are available.

1. Red Meat and Organs

If it is part of an animal, it’s obviously a no-go!  That includes cows (beef, veal), sheep (lamb, mutton), pig (pork, bacon), dog, goat, horse, camel, and rabbit meat, organs and broth or stock,

A common mistake is including pâté on a platter!  Swap it for plant-based alternatives like olive tapinate or hommus.   

2. Poultry, Eggs and Organs 

If it comes from a bird, it is off the menu! That includes the eggs, organs and meat of chicken, turkey, goose, duck, and quail.  

Avoid having foie gras on the same page as the plant-based section of your menu.  The cruelty may cause customers to leave.  Offering ‘chicken’ when asked about plant-based options is a common cause of people leaving bad reviews.

3. Sea Food

If it comes from a sea animal, it is not plant-based either. That includes fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, caviar, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster & fish meat and organs.

Seaweed is ok! Fish sauce, sea food based soup stock, and oyster sauce are not ok.  Expect a bad review if you offer ‘fish’ as a vegetarian option. It’s a common mistake!

4. Diary 

If it uses ingredients from animals, it isn’t plant-based! This includes milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc from cows, goats, or any other animal.

On the flipside, offering plant-based cheese and milks and desserts will delight your customers! Coconut milk, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, and many other options are available.

5. Bee Products

If the ingredients come fron insects, they’re not plant-based.  This includes honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly.

Plant based alternatives like maple syrup, golden syrup, agave nectar and date syrup can ‘bee’ cheaper than honey!


Remember the top 5!

That’s it! Remember these top 5 types of foods that aren’t plant-based and you’ll be ok!

Do you have plant-based options at your venue? You could list your venu on HappyCow for free! Check out our step by step resource. We’ll show you how!

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With over 17 years in international vegetarian and vegan communities on and off-line, I work hard to follow these niche markets and trends. I have provided menu advice for over 40 restaurants and cafes across 11 countries... and counting! Vegan food is my passion, but I also like sailing and cycling.


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