By Cyril Lavenant
Executive Director Foodservice U.K.
The NPD Group
Over the last few years in Great Britain there has been increasing focus on vegetarian and vegan trends. Many people claim to have switched to meat-free diets, voicing health and environmental reasons for doing so. With this in mind, how has the rise of vegetarianism and veganism affected the foodservice market? And do consumers stick to these diets when eating out of home?
Our CREST® data shows 5 percent of out-of-home visits in Great Britain include vegetarian products and exclude any meat protein; this is equal to 622 million visits (data to end of March 2018). While this figure may seem low, vegetarian visits have increased by 11 percent in the last three years, showing there is increased interest in non-meat meals.
Chains are already responding, with many increasing the number of vegetarian and vegan items on their menus. It is vital to provide a variety of options on menus to cater for all diets. In this way operators can ensure all groups coming in to eat will be satisfied; consumers will have a choice of meat or meat-free options.
The rise of the flexitarian diet (people who have a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eat meat or fish) has made it even more important to provide ample menu choices. Flexitarians choose to eat meat or fish for special occasions or to treat themselves. Our data shows “to treat myself” is the second most important motivation for eating out. It’s understandable that most special occasions when flexitarians choose to eat meat are when they are eating out.
Non-meat diets will continue to gain importance. However, these diets may not have the same impact on the out-of-home market as they will have on the grocery/FMCG market. We are creating a new report to help our clients truly understand how important vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, and flexitarian consumers are to the British foodservice industry. The report will include data and insights to validate whether these groups are worth your investment.