It’s no secret that consumers are demanding more alternatives to meat when eating out.

In fact, research from Meatless Farm, the British plant-based supplier to the foodservice market, shows that 54% of British consumers are increasing the amount of plant-based food they’re eating this year alone. Further statistics show that vegans and vegetarians will make up one quarter of the UK’s population, and flexitarians 50%, in the next half decade.

This is being driven by a surge towards a healthier lifestyle, animal welfare concerns and sustainability, with 65% of British consumers planning to consume less meat in 2020 for animal welfare reasons and 52% in order to benefit their health. There has been a dramatic increase in demand for vegetarian and vegan options, driven by the growth of the ‘flexitarian’ consumer.

Meatless Farm’s Account Controller, Sarah-Jane Virr, advises operators not to be afraid to innovate and develop plant-based dishes: ‘’We know that 39% of consumers would be likely to go to a restaurant if they knew it was introducing new plant-based menu options. There’s a tendency for people to think that eating plant-based or vegan is all about being stringently healthy, mainly lettuce leaves and quinoa, when actually there’s real opportunity to create familiar, delicious food. It’s also important that operators remember that the vegan / veggie friend in a group will most likely dictate where the group dines depending on the menu options available, by having a menu that caters to all groups operators can really drive sales and footfall to their venues.’’ 

Further research from the company reveals that 20% of consumers say they would be more likely to visit a restaurant if it promoted its plant-based dishes.

Out of home is a huge market and will play an integral role in helping to make the changes needed to the global food system and ultimately to the environment. As we go through 2020, vegan and veggie options will start to become hygiene factors for consumers, for pub and restaurant operators this provides a ripe opportunity to create meat-free menu options that deliver to the plant-based demand yet simultaneously cater those who would like meat-like options if they choose to cut down or go vegan/veggie. Virr highlights: ‘’For operators this doesn’t necessarily mean re-inventing the whole menu, this could be anything from creating a new dish to simply offering plant-based versions of your best-selling meat dishes, such as Lasagne, or familiar pub classics, like bangers and mash.’’   

Virr continues: “Our experts and chefs spent two years developing products that deliver on the cook, look, taste and health factors – the biggest barriers to people going meat free. Plant-based consumers are becoming increasingly discerning and it’s important that operators can deliver a variety of quality plant-based menu options. This was one of the key drivers for us whilst in the development stage – we wanted our products to be seen as a quality protein source, where chefs can have the freedom to create anything from innovative dishes to everyday family favourites and they’re not restricted by strong product flavours. There’s so much opportunity for chefs to create a variety of meat free dishes that they can put their own stamp on. Our range is also competitively priced against its meat counterparts, offering operators a credible plant-based offer which delivers on taste, texture and margin.’’

Virr adds: “The plant-based market is expected to grow from a $14BN industry to $140BN in the next decade and we strongly believe this industry is here to stay; the category’s YOY growth, rise in flexitarians and the UN’s climate change report, looking at health and environmental impact, are all testament to this.” 

The Meatless Farm Co will be exhibiting at PUB20 on stand G54

For Foodservice enquiries, contact: Ashley Parkes

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