2 renowned Philippine chefs join the plant-based movement

The fast rise of plant-based alternatives has led to a cultural shift in the global food industry. This has been especially evident in Asia where a growing number of people, young and old, are turning to plant-based foods to boost their health. Another reason it has caught consumers’ attention so quickly is the growing concern about climate change, which has made them more mindful about eating sustainably. According to a recent survey by GlobalData, over 40% of consumers in the region are shifting to plant-based meat and diets, with 11% opting for vegetarian and vegan food, and a third are cutting down on their meat consumption by going “flexitarian”, centering their diets on plant-based foods without totally eliminating meat.

With diners already demanding healthier and nutritious food products and making better informed choices—putting more plant-based foods on their menus make practical business sense for food operators. Answering the call, Nestlé Philippines has made the first step into the plant-based meat alternatives market with Harvest Gourmet. The new range provides a close similarity in taste and texture to that of meat products, while offering the nutritional benefits of plant-based proteins. The variety of options has also been adapted to the Asian palate and popular menu choices, including meat-alternative burgers, nuggets, and mince ingredients made from non-GMO soy, wheat, and other plant-based ingredients. The brand is meant to support restaurateurs, cafe owners, hoteliers, and other out-of-home industry partners by helping them opt-in to adding more plant-based menu options, as it opens up more business opportunities to not only provide more choices for health-conscious consumers, but also “normalize” the consumption of meat-alternatives.

“As more people turn to meat-alternatives to achieve healthier lifestyles and to satisfy their taste buds, we welcome our out-of-home industry partners to strongly start taking plant-based menu offerings into consideration as it attracts a different type of customer, while also providing exciting, new taste experiences for loyal customers. This is a recipe that makes good business sense,” said Alexander Ong Oh, business executive officer of Nestlé Professional, the foodservice unit of Nestlé Philippines.

Recently, two of the country’s esteemed chefs—Sau Del Rosario and Josh Boutwood—made the choice to join the plant-based movement. In collaboration with Harvest Gourmet, they created a pair of burger dishes for their respective restaurants in an effort to test the appeal of plant-based meat among their customers.

Chef Sau created a plant-based Adobo Burger with Pinakbet Okoy and Buffalo Wings with Calamansi Aioli and a Korean-inspired plant-based Burger with Ssam Jang, Kimchi and Nori flavored fries. The latter is currently available to order from his Cafe Fleur restaurant menu. These were made using Harvest Gourmet Sensational Burger and Chargrilled pieces.

Chef Josh, on the other hand, came up with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat Burger made with Sensational Burger, charcoal grilled cucumber relish, burger sauce, chipotle sauce, and micro greens. He also made a plant-based Honey Buffalo (chicken) Sandwich made with Harvest Gourmet Schnitzel, coleslaw, and secret sauce, available for a limited time at his renowned Test Kitchen.

Whether as a chef or a diner, chefs Sau and Josh lauded how Harvest Gourmet has made it easier for them to incorporate a plant-based food into their life and work.

“I keep a very busy schedule, but I make sure I eat nourishing and healthy meals to keep my body energized and ready for the long hours in the kitchen. Eating healthy has never been this easy when I started incorporating Harvest Gourmet into my diet and this is something I would like for my diners to also experience. That’s why I included it in our Café Fleur menu. You will love how it is not only good for your well-being but for our environment as well,” said Sau.

When people hear vegetarian, vegan, plant-based alternatives, or anything related to healthy food, there is an automatic connotation that it would be an inferior product; and while some might still have reservations over plant-based food, Josh can attest to the quality of Harvest Gourmet.

“As a diner, if I change my mindset, what’s important to me is that it has to taste good, and I have to enjoy it. Is it good enough for me to create a memory that I will remember? Yes, and that’s what’s important. With Harvest Gourmet, these are wonderful base products that we can build up on as chefs and incorporate it in our menu to give that extra option to our guests to choose from,” Josh said.

For a limited time, Nestlé Professional Philippines is offering Harvest Gourmet products at a special discount of up to 36% on both e-commerce and wholesale platforms. The products are available through Nestlé Professional Philippines and e-commerce partners Rare Food Shop, Lazada, Shopee, and Wholemart PH.

For more information on Harvest Gourmet, visit the official Facebook page of Nestlé Professional Philippines and follow @harvestgourmetph on Instagram.