In recent years, with more consumers adopting vegan and vegetarian diets, plant-based dishes have steadily gained menu real estate. However, it looks like the increased demand comes from a general shift towards healthy eating, rather than from vegans or vegetarians.
Recently, 29 per cent of consumers said that they limit their meat consumption, with 28 per cent preferring plant-based protein over animal protein. According to studies, while the vegan diet is gaining momentum, only about two per cent of Canadians consider themselves to be vegan and 3 per cent vegetarian, so the growing demand goes well beyond those categories of diners.
Plant-based diets are no longer a trend, they’re a rapidly growing lifestyle, with the rise of “meatless Mondays,” becoming more popular as a consistent part of people’s lives.
As a way to meet consumer demand, restaurants need to be paying attention to what their customers want and adapting their menus to include plant-based options. Customers are not just looking for a meat alternative for their favourites, they are looking for interesting and creative dishes that skip meat as the protein.
Experts predict that the plant-based market will account for 7.7 per cent of the global protein market by 2030, so it’s here to stay. As the demand for plant-based dishes continues to grow, restaurants that miss the boat on adding them to the menu may lose business to their competition.