Those who think raw food is all about dry vegetable sticks have missed out on a trend in the catering scene: raw vegan cuisine. It’s about creating dishes, desserts and beverages that are vegan and as natural as possible. The key difference when it comes to preparation is that standard cooking procedures are dispensed with. Instead, the products are allowed to germinate (legumes, for example) or ferment, or they are pureed and shredded in their raw state for further processing – for example, to make sauces and mashes.
One business that has successfully put this type of concept into practice is the Joolina Cakery from Frankfurt, Germany. The driving force behind the raw vegan Concept Store is Frankfurt native Alina Endemann, who left her previous career to follow her passion. ‘In the beginning, I was only selling raw cakes to other restaurateurs. Then in February 2022, I opened my own shop together with Joolz, who has been my best friend for many years.’
Alina is best known for her raw vegan cakes, which she now also sells to end customers throughout Germany through the online platform Get Voilà. In addition to the cakes, the shop in Frankfurt supplies juices, sandwiches and salads, almost all of which are based 100 per cent on raw ingredients (naturally, quinoa is also cooked in some cases) but are definitely all vegan. Customers will also find a selection of off-the-shelf vegan products for purchase. But how does a raw vegan concept work and what is the target market?
What does raw vegan cuisine have to offer?
The Joolina Cakery is frequented by health-conscious customers who enjoy fresh vegan dishes that mostly consist of just three to five high-quality ingredients. Vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. ‘Raw vegan is not to everyone’s taste,’ concedes Alina. However, she believes strongly in her concept, and her success proves her right. The 30-year-old points out that there are more than enough restaurants and bars offering animal-based and highly processed meals. ‘By using raw ingredients, we are retaining the vitamins, enzymes and mineral nutrients in the food. In addition, the dietary fibre they contain promotes a healthy gut, and the foods are free of additives or preservatives.’
Hygiene is important when dealing with raw vegan products because the foods are only partially heated or not heated at all. ‘Raw cakes, for instance, are not baked but are simply frozen. Since they are not exposed to heat, all the nutrients that the foods contain are preserved. Consequently, my kitchen contains a lot more refrigerators and freezers than ovens and cookers,’ laughs Alina Endemann.
Is raw vegan ready to go mainstream?
The kitchen appliances that she couldn’t do without include a slow juicer and a food processor. After all, mixing and shredding are everyday tasks in her kitchen. Other key ingredients include good cold-pressed olive oil and fresh lemons, ‘which is almost all you need to prepare a delicious raw food salad.’ And will raw vegan cuisine become an established mainstream choice? ‘I think a completely raw vegan diet probably won’t. However, I believe that people will incorporate it into their meal plans more frequently – for health reasons and out of a desire to feed themselves in a sustainable manner. She also mentions another very persuasive advantage: ‘Raw vegan dishes are much quicker to prepare than conventional cooked meals.’
METRO products for (raw) vegan cuisine
From legumes to prepared fruit and vegetables or nuts: under the own brand METRO Chef label, METRO offers numerous basic ingredients that restaurateurs can use to create fresh, delicious and healthy meals. The result is a health-conscious gastronomy concept that dispenses with time-consuming chopping and cutting and offers great potential.