‘The Diggity Dog’ vegan hotdog wins national prize

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

The award-winning Diggity Dog
The award-winning Diggity Dog

Related tags Vegan Food Shepherd neame Awards Multi-site pub operators

The Diggity Dog, Shepherd Neame’s recently launched vegan hotdog, has been named Best New Menu Item in the national Menu Innovation and Development Awards (MIDAS).

Created from soya bean and pea protein, the plant-based sausage is made by British firm Moving Mountains. It is the first hotdog of its kind to mimic a real Bratwurst in texture and bite, and is served with sauerkraut, pickled veg, crispy onions, tandoori ketchup and mustard.  

Research has highlighted the importance of pubs focusing on their vegan offering, with one quarter of Brits swapping meat with plant-based alternatives​ since the first Covid lockdown.  

Sustainable Kitchen Consultants founder Julie Cleijne’s top tips for sharpening your plant-based menu​ included keeping your options exciting and eye-catching, and using impactful menu language. This is something the Diggity Dog with its varied ingredients certainly achieves. 

Diggity Dog delight

Shepherd Neame head development chef Simon Howlett said the company was “delighted” to receive recognition for the Diggity Dog. 

The MIDAS Awards recognise the best menu development managers and group executive chefs from chain-operated businesses across the UK, and Howlett received the Best New Menu Item award on behalf of his team in a ceremony at the Amba Hotel in London’s Marble Arch on Thursday (10 March). 

He continued: “Since its launch, it has proved incredibly popular with vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians, giving everyone a delicious new dish to try. As demand for vegan cuisine continues to rise, all our menus now have vegan options including our award-winning vegan Oumph! Burger, and we have also added more vegetarian, gluten -free and under-600 calorie options.” 

A team of mystery diners and judges were tasked with deciding the MIDAS winners in 21 categories. Having won the award, Howlett will join the other category winners for a five day research and insight tour of Miami in May. 

Striving to improve

“We are constantly striving to improve our offer, looking out for new partnership opportunities and keeping abreast of the latest food trends, and encouraging our chefs to experiment with new ideas and ingredients,” Howlett concluded. 

Operators at Shepherd Neame venues have also been pushing the limits of pub cuisine​. Licensee Simon Young and his wife Victoria launched the Turkish street-food dish, Pide, at the White Hart in Canterbury, Kent. 

The dish was sometimes described as a Turkish pizza or flatbread, yet in reality, it is a hybrid of both. Cooked in a stone-baked pizza oven, the homemade dough is topped with cheddar, mozzarella or feta cheese, a variety of veggies and spices, and with or without cured meats. 

Victoria said: “From a publican’s perspective, they are really simple, quick and easy to make, and are really cost effective. They also use all fresh ingredients, as we make them with fresh vegetables. Due to this, we know we’re giving customers really fresh food, which is something we found isn’t always that readily available in pubs or restaurants.” 

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