Survey finds consumers seek vegan options in foodservice

Sol Cuisine, private brand supplier of plant-based foods, commissioned a survey that found having a vegan or vegetarian option impacts a consumer’s decision to visit a foodservice location.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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A survey conducted by Hanover Research found that more than half of consumers would reconsider going to a restaurant or foodservice location that did not offer a vegetarian or vegan option, and only 3% of respondents said plant-based options or meat alternatives are “not at all important to them.”

The study was commissioned by Sol Cuisine, a producer of branded and private brand plant-based protein offerings for retail as well as foodservice, including more than 4,000 food service partners across Canada and the United States.

a dish is filled with food

Sol said it has seen strong demand for the 20 SKUs it offers to food service customers, including versions of its Hot & Spicy Chik'n Wing, Meatless Chik'n Tender, Meatless Extreme Burger, Sunflower and Beet Burger and Italian Meatball. The company said the plant-based protein market in North America is expected to grow $13.8 billion by 2027, and the U.S. food service sector currently generates $1.68 billion annually.

The Hanover study surveyed 500 consumers in Canada and the U.S. in July, identifying consumer attitudes. Findings included:

  • 52% of consumers surveyed indicated that they would reconsider going to a restaurant that did not offer vegetarian or vegan options;
  • 65% of respondents indicated that they go to restaurants with vegetarians sometimes, often, or very often;
  • 50% of these consumers indicated that the presence of vegetarian options has increased in importance in the past 2 years; and
  • Only 3% of consumers said that plant-based options/meat alternatives are not at all important to them.

"The food service portion of our business is an important growth area, particularly as restaurants and other businesses reopen in alignment with the loosening of COVID-related restrictions in Canada and the U.S.,” said John Flanagan, CEO of Sol Cuisine. 

“The study conducted by Hanover Research corroborates what we are seeing on the ground. Consumers want restaurants to offer more and better plant-based options, and restaurateurs are accommodating, with growth both in new launches as well as a deeper menu. We expect that consumers will continue adding a larger proportion of plant-based foods into their diet, both at home as well as on the go,” he added.