Wagamama in historic High Street first as it launches new menu

Wagamama has announced the launch of new plant-based dishes meaning it is the UK’s first high street restaurant to give plant-based dishes equal share on their menu.

As part of their ‘2021 Positive Action Plan’, wagamama pledged to make half their menu plant-based by the end of the year. A commitment they will meet three months early as they launch their new autumn menu on October 6.

Research has revealed that eating a plant-based diet could reduce the amount of land used for agriculture by 76% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food by up to 49%

wagamama has achieved it’s 50% plant-based commitment and will be launching: Spicy Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Steamed Buns, Spicy Vegan ‘Short Rib’ Ramen, Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Ramen, and Shu’s ‘Shiok’ Jackfruit.

Ahead of the UN’s COP26 climate conference on November 1, wagamama is urging and incentivising guests to pledge a ‘small choice for big change’ as part of their ‘Plant-Pledge’ campaign.

In return for guests promise to plants, wagamama is offering a vegan side on them until November – to get guests started on their plant-based journey. Just under 8000 guests have made their pledge, and they are hoping to see an increase when the new menu launches.

Global Executive Chef Steve Mangleshot and his team have heroed a new vegan ‘chicken’ alternative which mirrors the taste and texture of pulled chicken in wagamama’s new Spicy Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Buns and Teriyaki Vegan ‘Chicken’ Ramen.

Mushroom and soya ‘short ribs’ are the protein centrepiece for their new Spicy Vegan ‘Short Rib’ Ramen. While turmeric + ginger roasted jackfruit substitute chicken in ‘Shu’s Shiok’ – the dish Mangleshot created in collaboration with chef Shu Han Lee.

Supporting their 50% plant-based menu, wagamama will be releasing a tv advert to boost their purpose-led message, linking plant-based eating with helping the planet.

About their new menu, wagamama CEO Thomas Heier said: “This menu launch marks an important moment for us as a business, as we officially make our menu 50% plant-based. We’ve been making choices, both big and small, to tread more lightly on our earth.

“We’re privileged to have restaurants in most major UK cities, therefore feel a real responsibility and exciting opportunity to make plant-based food as accessible as possible to all guests no matter their dietary preferences.

“We feel passionately that plant-based food can be just as nourishing and delicious. We hope our new menu will influence a positive spike in plant-based menu participation from our guests.”

Friends of the Earth supports wagamama’s efforts. Clare Oxborrow, Senior Sustainability Analyst at Friends of the Earth, said, “Broadening menus so that plant-based food is the first option, or a desirable one, is a great thing to do.

“The more people that realise that it isn’t a compromise, and that these dishes are tasty and flavour-packed, the more appetite there will be to widen menus even further.

“Eating less and better dairy and meat is really important as we confront the climate and nature crises. The Plant Pledge campaign is well placed to dispel the notion that food that’s kind to the planet isn’t appealing, so it’s a welcome one.

“More establishments will see that this initiative from wagamama is successful, and we encourage them to follow suit in making plant-based options both accessible and crucially, delicious.”

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