Analysts: Restaurant Customers Seeking Plant-Based Innovation
Victoria Campisi, The Food Institute
Jul 21, 2021
There’s no denying plant-based food has had a big year. However, the pandemic’s full impact on plant-based momentum in restaurants remains unclear.
While the gears of product development are starting to turn again, some major brands have moved away from plant-based products—such as Dunkin’ cutting a Beyond Meat sandwich from the menu— and, overall, such offerings represent only about 3% of the menu mix, reported Forbes (July 16).
IS THE RESTAURANT SECTOR ASKING FOR MORE PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS?
Long John Silver’s recently revealed it’s partnering with Good Catch to launch plant-based seafood at select locations, while Little Caesars recently added a plant-based pepperoni pizza to the menu.
This begs the question: Has the restaurant industry reached a point of plant-based saturation? The Food Institute spoke to two industry experts to get their opinions.
“Right now, it may not be so much that the restaurant sector is asking for more plant-based products, but it is finding a balance between offering what customers are interested in and keeping an eye on profitability,” said Jennifer Bartashus, Senior Analyst, Retail Staples & Packaged Food, at Bloomberg Intelligence.
Bartashus also noted that, one other trend that shouldn’t be discounted is the inclusion of more produce-based options, like cauliflower steaks, grain and roasted vegetable bowls, for example.
Meanwhile, Marie Molde, Account Manager, Registered Dietitian at Datassential, says that consumers are looking for plant-based innovation and looking to increase their consumption of whole plant-based foods. “This widespread bias towards increasing whole plant-based foods in our diets represents significant permission for chefs to prioritize plant-based innovation,” she said.
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