So we teamed up with the Craft Guild of Chefs to put a selection of products through their paces in the kitchen. New Guild vice chair Mark Reynolds, the executive chef at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, lent his knowledge and expertise to the task, but the final choices were made by Public Sector Catering.
Some areas of the public sector, such as schools, have nutritional standards that must be complied with. In other parts there is advisory nutritional guidance, which is generally balanced across a three-week rotational menu.
In all cases, though, were looking for products that are low in salt, sugar and fat as these are generally healthier.
The Guild tested a range of plant-based products against the following criteria:
- Nutritional composition – is it low in salt, fat and sugar and high in ‘goodness’, including fibre, vitamins and nutrients?
- Taste – what tastes best?
- Texture – (where applicable) does it have a pleasant texture? If it is a meat-replacement, judging the similarity to the original meat where that is the obvious aim
- Ease of use – public sector kitchens tend to be high volume and time restricted, so it is essential the products are simple to use to create tasty and healthy dishes
- Cost – is the product good value for money?
- Overall quality – a top chef’s feel for the quality of the product ‘in the round’
- Sustainability credentials – a score out of 20 is added for this based on sourcing and manufacturing information
All of the following plant-based products that were tested by the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Mark Reynolds received at least 80% or more when scored by us against these criteria.