Plant Based Eating in QSR
Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) are always on the hunt for the latest and greatest concepts to drum up their sales, but this latest one is more than a fad, it’s a trend that’s here to stay, plant based meals!
Traditionally, plant based meals in fast food venues have never been more than a mere afterthought, with vegetarians and vegans opting for other options, usually where their choices were very limited. However this has all changed, and plant based meals are becoming readily available and a staple on menus in many QSR chains.
Consumers tastes are changing, and the demand for plant based meals is on the rise. Led by desire for a sustainable food options, growing concern for the environment, ethical issues surrounding animal farming and health concerns, consumers are pushing towards a greener alternative.
The demand for plant based meals is no longer a niche market, it has become widespread. Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, it is no longer just vegans and vegetarians requesting it, but more and more everyday people are joining the bandwagon. Many consumers are opting for plant based meals as they want to eat healthy, delicious food and feel good about where that food comes from. Recent data shows that Gen Z are leading this change. 38% of Gen Z eat fast food at least once a week, and 28% of vegans and 15% of vegetarians say they eat at take away meals once a week. Looking at this data, it is clear that QSR need to adapt to offer food for dietary requirements.
Many QSRs have already started embracing plant based options, by expanding their offerings and introducing new menu items specifically targeting those seeking alternative meal options. Australian vegan fast food chain Lord of The Fries is leading the way and began offering the Beyond Burger last year, a burger that looks and tastes like real meat, the pea based pattie is designed to ‘bleed’ beetroot juice when cooked. Other Australian QSR Grill’d recently hosted a “Meat Cheat’ day where they only offered plant based meals. Hungry Jacks have also joined by introducing a vegan breakfast bun, and Dominos have experienced much success with their introduction of their Vegan Summer BBQ range and the option to use vegan cheese on their pizza, the cheese was so popular they changed it to be a regular menu item.
This new trend has created opportunity for innovation in menus and an expansion to a new range of menu items. QSR’s are not the only businesses taking on the challenge to incorporate more plant based options into the menu, the mock meat industry is booming, and the non dairy milk had a $165.8 million share in the market in 2018/19.
It is not only about introducing non meat based options, but improving the quality and freshness of their ingredients. QSR are sourcing fresher ingredients and elevating their standards and quality. As well as embracing the new plant based options, QSR embracing the plant based trend and are making such meals readily available, convenient and accessible.