Years ago, being vegan or vegetarian was far from mainstream. But the world is changing, and so are our eating habits. We are evolving from a meat and potatoes society and animal product-free lifestyles are becoming a norm. In fact, many people choose veg-friendly meals and snacks without realizing it.
To keep up with healthy eating initiatives and to promote the health of our customers, we are continuously expanding these options throughout our stores. To understand more about Heinen’s vegan and vegetarian expansion, we sat down with Heinen’s Director of Food Service, Carin Solganik, who says that above all we are committed to promoting your health by providing a variety of exciting and delicious plant-based meals, sides and snacks that far exceed the rice and vegetables stereotype.
Salads are delicious, healthy, and the most obvious veg-friendly meal. That is why our vegan and vegetarian initiative started with our Salads We Love nearly five years ago. But these diets expand far beyond salad, and today a variety of options can be found in our Meat Department, Deli, Gourmet Case and even our soup bar.
One of the most popular places for vegan items is the Gourmet Case. Our food service team takes great care in planning menus and safely preparing a variety of vegan and vegetarian options that include more than just vegetables. A few favorites include Vegan Chicken Nuggets, Vegan Chicken Salad, Vegetarian Meatloaf, BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit, Zucchini and Feta Cakes, and Eggplant Stackers.
Solganik, an omnivore, loves the Zucchini and Feta Cakes and Vegan Chicken Nuggets. She finds that many of these dishes and sides have become favorites among non-vegans and vegetarians because people are realizing that these alternatives are not only healthier, but can taste just as delicious as traditional foods.
So we know that ingredients set animal product-free dishes apart from traditional dishes, but does the preparation differ? Although she cannot guarantee that vegan and vegetarian dishes do not come in contact with traditional options, Solganik assures that our Prepared Foods team works diligently to prepare clean and safe vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Where else in our store can you find vegan and vegetarian options? Travel to the deli and you will find ever-expanding vegan options including packaged Vegan Eats meals and dressings. Or warm up with a cup of one of our vegan soups from our soup bar. If you’re craving a burger, stop by our meat department and swap out traditional beef for a black bean burger. These are only a few of the options within our stores, but Solganik says she is constantly looking for more ways to expand.
Although plant-based diets are becoming standard, Solganik sees Heinen’s vegan and vegetarian expansion as more than meeting a trend. It as an everlasting commitment to your health. Whether you choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, or simply enjoy adding healthy variety to your everyday diet, Heinen’s is committed to continuously pushing the envelope by exploring fresh, clean and delicious veg-friendly alternatives that defy the rice and vegetable stereotype and help you live a healthy life.