As an increasing number of people adopt plant-based diets around the world, restaurants and chefs are eager to cater to the growing trend by creating vegan menu options.
In 2018, 51 per cent of chefs in the United States added vegan items to their menus, according to a new study by food industry insight company Foodable Labs.
The 31 per cent rise in plant-based menu items from last year may be partly due to the influence of social media food-bloggers, the study found.
According to the study, tagged and shared photos of vegan foods have increased by 79 per cent in the last year and nearly half of influencers have requested more plant-based options at restaurants.
But apart from giving customers what they want, the move to add more vegan food is also profitable - as the last year has seen a 300 per cent increase in the number of people who identify as vegans in the US.
In just one year, restaurant owners saw a 13 per cent increase in business in response to adding vegan options.
The trend of eating foods solely made from plants has also extended to ordering in - GrubHub, the nation’s leading takeaway delivery service reported that vegan dishes saw a 17 per cent increase in 2017.
For suppliers of meat-alternatives, the change in perception of a vegan diet from uncommon to mainstream has resulted in an ever-increasing demand.
“We’ve gone from pushing and really trying to convince to now just being in response mode where the consumer is now driving the ship, so to speak, and steering the ship and we are just trying to keep up,” said Ethan Brown, CEO of protein-alternative company Beyond Meat.
The shift has also changed how restaurants market vegan food.
HipCityVeg CEO Nicole Marquis said: “It’s no longer really about like interruptive marketing and manipulating someone's purchasing choices, it’s really about communicating who we are, what we do, what we believe in.
“I think the driving force is definitely shared value".
As veganism becomes more popular, it is expected that even more restaurants and corporations will follow.
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