At Vital Ingredient we are constantly working to ensure you get the freshest tastiest food possible, this includes visiting our ingredient suppliers regularly.
Last week I visited our salad leaf supplier to see the first of this year’s production. During Spring and Summer we buy all our salad leaves from our local supplier in Kent, someone we have worked with from the very beginning.
Acres and acres of colourful lettuce filled fields stretch over the countryside. There are also test fields, where incredibly over 400 different new varieties of lettuce are tested every year! A lot of hard work goes into identifying new tasty varieties to bring to our salad bowls.
As well as flavour, the farmer is looking for varieties that will grow quickly and produce a good yield in the field. Soil can make a big difference, what grows well for one farmer won’t necessarily work for another, due to the change in soil.
The latest new leaf to be developed is baby kale, which has taken over 3 years of trials to perfect. Much sweeter and softer than normal kale, it’s perfect for salads.
Have you tried our Guest Salad? This is where you can find the seasonal and new lettuce varieties. We change it every fortnight to ensure there’s always plenty of variety to keep your lunchtime interesting. Look out for the baby kale coming to your salad bowl soon!
Head of Food, Nicola Simons
Our gluten and dairy-free chia pot
There’s no one size fits all approach to healthy eating. For some of us, following a dairy-free or gluten-free diet is a must-do, whilst others choose to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. But thanks to our flexible ‘create your own’ menus, eating at Vital Ingredient gets the green light regardless of dietary requirements.
Looking for a dairy-free, wheat-free breakfast that ranks highly on the taste factor? Create your own breakfast bowl or smoothie by choosing a base ingredient like toasted oats or rye flakes plus three ingredients such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Then add dairy-free almond milk and your favourite topping.
If gluten or meat are off-limits but you don’t want to miss out on delicious tasting food, our ‘create your own’ salads are for you. Choose a base from our selection of zero fat leaves, brown rice and quinoa and then pick one item from the deli counter and four items from the veg counter. Drizzle over your favourite dressing from our menu and hey presto, your tailor-made lunch is served!
We even have a selection of snacks that cater to special dietary requirements. Our gluten and dairy-free chia pots are packed with brain-boosting omega-3 for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up whilst our tropical fruit salad varieties are crammed with antioxidant goodness.
Vital fact: Dairy-free milks made from almond and coconut are great alternatives to regular milk. Coconut milk contains special fats called medium chain triglycerides which help to boost the metabolism whilst almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, an important nutrient for skin health.
Nutritionist, Louise Pyne