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Will There be More Vegan and Plant-Based Foods on Menus?

By Gavin Fraser | July 5, 2024

In response to shifting consumer preferences and increasing awareness of health and environmental impacts, the culinary landscape is evolving. Vegan and plant-based foods are a growing segment that restaurants are increasingly catering to. This shift is driven by several factors that promise to reshape menus across the industry.

The rise of veganism and plant-based diets is closely tied to heightened awareness of health and environmental issues. More consumers are choosing these diets to reduce their carbon footprint, promote animal welfare, and improve personal health. As a result, there is a growing demand for menus that reflect these values, offering options free from animal products.

Restaurants are responding by diversifying their offerings to include more vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarian choices. These options are crafted from a variety of ingredients such as legumes, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. By doing so, eateries are not only appealing to vegans and vegetarians but also capturing a broader demographic of health-conscious and environmentally aware diners.

Beyond consumer preference, there are economic incentives for restaurants to embrace plant-based menus. With food inflation affecting ingredient costs, plant-based proteins often offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional animal products. This shift can help restaurants maintain a healthier Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) percentage while still meeting customer demand for high-quality, sustainable food options.

The surge in plant-based offerings has also sparked culinary innovation. Chefs and food developers are experimenting with new recipes and techniques to create delicious and satisfying plant-based dishes that rival their meat-based counterparts. From gourmet burgers made with plant-based patties to decadent dairy-free desserts, the range of options continues to expand, challenging stereotypes about vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Offering diverse and well-executed plant-based options is becoming increasingly important for restaurants looking to attract and retain customers. Whether it’s a dedicated vegan menu or simply more plant-based choices alongside traditional fare, establishments that adapt to these trends are likely to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

It is important to note that as vegan food demands continue to grow, meat lovers might be turned away by a vegan-heavy menu, which could undoubtedly affect dining revenue. Regardless, restaurants that embrace this shift towards vegan and plant-based foods will meet current consumer demands and could also position themselves for long-term success in a changing culinary landscape. As sustainability and health-consciousness continue to drive consumer choices, expect to see even more innovative and plant-based options gracing menus worldwide.


Gavin Fraser

Gavin Fraser is an Editor at Hotel Interactive, a leading provider of online resources and information for the hospitality industry serving as a hub for industry news, trends, and insights. Gavin covers the hospitality sector for hotelinteractive.com, distributes its e-newsletter, and moderates panel discussions for the company’s BITAC events.

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