Within the hospitality industry, the sharp rise of vegetarians and vegans over the past 5 years has given a new impetus for restaurants and shops to improve animal free menus. The Vegetarian Society notes that three in ten people now opt for a meat free diet, representing nearly a third of the population. Not only this, the Vegan Society claims that Britain is home to at least 542,000 Vegan consumers, an extreme boost over the past half decade. With this increase, how and why have restaurateurs accommodated to these rising trends?
As with most growing trends, the answer to their popularity lies partly with social media. Many vegetarian and vegan groups project their views across all virtual social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other dedicated blogs. As a result of this, young people in particular have been inspired to take on meat free lifestyles. What’s more, with celebrities, such as Ellie Goulding, Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and Jennifer Lopez expressing their love for vegetarianism and veganism, people have been inspired to do so too. Even tennis star Novak Djokovic has opened a successful vegan restaurant in Monte Carlo.
Supermarkets have slowly expanded their animal free ranges over the years and now host substantial vegetarian and vegan sections in most shops. However, it is within the restaurant world where some do better than others. Alongside vegan and vegetarian only restaurants, many other venues host a substantial array of delicious meat and dairy free options. However, vegans and vegetarians often face uninspiring, predictable meat free dishes, such as mushroom risotto, mushroom pasta or even baked mushrooms.
Pret a Manger
Pret a Manger is a champion in supplier of vegetarian and vegan food to the public. After opening a veggie-only pop up shop in London at the beginning of June, they expected to make a 30% drop in sales. However, Pret were left astonished as they saw sales climb by 70% and experienced a great reception on social media. Cacao, coconut and avocados were noticeably the best selling ingredients, with the company noting that vegan dishes were the most popular. With such a fantastic reception, Pret now face a decision whether to make a permanent location, which the public so desperately wants.
The Key to Success
The key to their success lies in their dedication to create delicious dishes with careful thought put into the various textures and cooking techniques involved, such as smoking, grilling, steaming and pickling. With this and their wide menu range, vegans and vegetarians have rejoiced in finally being allowed unique, mouth watering dishes with only the occasional mushroom in sight.
As a venue, it is important to cater for all diets. As there has been such an evident rise in vegetarian and vegan consumers over the past 5 years, it is important to let your consumers know you are listening. As Pret a Manger discovered, their profits increased by more than half by proving that they listen to the public.