Anyone in the foodservice industry knows that the past few years have been a rollercoaster. From COVID-19 lockdowns dramatically changing how diners get their food to shifting perceptions of the connection between what’s on the plate to the planet, the foodservice landscape is rapidly evolving. The biggest takeaway?
What diners wanted 1-2 years ago is no longer relevant today.
In our most recent report, the 2021 State of Meat in Foodservice(opens in a new tab), we are giving foodservice operators all the insights into:
Where the category of plant-based meat is heading
Who is eating plant-based meat
What is coming up on menus in 2021 and beyond
We dive much deeper into detail in the report, but here are a few key takeaways to pique your interest:
1. Industry Insights: Plant-based meat growth is skyrocketing
Across menus and shelves around the world, it has never been more clear that meat made from plants is here to stay. While once considered a niche trend, the U.S. market for plant-based meat is projected to reach ~$15 billion by 2025 (up from $1B in 2018) and sales are forecasted to grow 40% annually, vs 0% for animal meat.*
Additionally, from 2018-2020, plant-based meat sales grew 3X faster than animal meat sales. This growth isn’t just coming from vegans or vegetarians, but an emerging category of ‘flexitarians’, or meat eaters who also enjoy eating plant-based foods.**
The U.S. market for plant-based meat is projected to reach ~$15 billion by 2025 and sales are forecasted to grow 40% annually, vs 0% for animal meat.
A variety of factors are spurring this demand, chief among them increased concerns for health, environmental sustainability and animal welfare. Consumers are also finding themselves at the nexus of an entirely new era in the food industry, with innovation and accessibility as the key drivers.
The food industry is experiencing the largest ever offering of plant-based meats across categories, including chicken, beef, pork and seafood. All of this innovation has led to increased investment, which has also allowed for economies of scale and lowered production costs, like Impossible Foods’ price drop of up to 20% at the foodservice distributor level.
Key Takeaway: Meat as a category is evolving, and savvy foodservice operators are embracing this change to satisfy consumer demand.
2. Consumer Trends: Meat eaters are driving plant-based category growth
From skyrocketing demand at grocery stores and foodservice locations to increased plant-based menu options at schools and universities, consumers of all ages, income levels, regions and backgrounds are actively seeking alternative protein. As a result, we are witnessing a monumental shift in consumption that is coming directly at the expense of animal-derived meat.
9 out of 10 Impossible™ shoppers also purchase meat*** and 80% of Impossible Food’s volume in retail is sourced from new buyers and increased spending into the plant-based meat category.° On the national level, 42% of US adults are actively reducing animal meat consumption, and 43% are considering it, up 8% compared to just 1 year ago.°°
9 out of 10 Impossible™ shoppers also purchase animal-derived meat
Consumers are also ordering more dishes made with plant-based proteins from their local restaurants, which is evident in the astounding growth in plant-based ordering from food delivery platforms. DoorDash saw a 433% annual increase in plant-based burger orders, especially among 18- to 24-year-olds. GrubHub revealed that plant-based burgers were their second-most-ordered item in 2020 with year-over-year growth of 291%. And Yelp reported a 140% increase in mentions of “plant-based” in their reviews, as well as a 65% increase in “plant-based burger” and 114% increase in “Impossible™ Burger.”°°°
Key Takeaway: Consumers are changing habits and plant-based meat consumption is not a trend, it is here to stay.
3. Partner Success: Impossible™ menu items are good for business
Restaurant operators and retailers have an increasingly good reason to offer animal-meat alternatives — especially Impossible™ products — because they are a proven business driver. In a survey of customers who visited restaurants serving Impossible™ items in 2020, 52% said they decided to order Impossible products before even going to the restaurant and 63% are more likely to eat at restaurants that carry Impossible products.
Restaurants selling Impossible Burger have also reported record-breaking performance, sales that exceed expectations and the most successful launches in company history after adding it to the menu. Adam Weiss, CEO of Honeybee burger shared, ‘“Impossible Burger is our preference in store because it performs better, it sells better and it’s a better value than Beyond Burger. For the first few years, Impossible Burger outsold Beyond Burger by 5 to 1.”
“Impossible Burger is our preference in store because it performs better, it sells better and it’s a better value than Beyond Burger. For the first few years, Impossible Burger outsold Beyond Burger by 5 to 1.”
- Adam Weiss, CEO of Honeybee Burger
You can find various builds of Impossible meat made from plants on the menus of renowned chains and local favorites, including Slutty Vegan’s entire burger menu, 85°C Bakery Cafe’s Impossible™ BBQ Bun, Pie Five Pizza’s Impossible™ Tuscan Meatballs, Red Robin’s Impossible™ Cheeseburger and Jamba’s Impossible™ Handwich. The beauty of Impossible Burger and Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants is that they are direct substitutes for their ground beef and sausage counterparts, meaning the opportunities for incorporating them into the menu are endless.
Key Takeaway: meat made from plants is a menu must.
Ready for more insights? Download our State of Meat in Foodservice(opens in a new tab) report today!
** GFI/SPINS powered by IRI | 104 weeks ending 12-27-2020
*** Jan. 2021, Impossible Foods Brand Tracker
° Numerator New Item Source of Volume, B&M Static B&M Channel, 5/1/20 - 4/30/21
° ° YouGov Profiles, May 2021
° ° ° https://blog.doordash.com/the-deep-dish-food-trends-in-2020-74656ce7621f, https://media.grubhub.com/media/News/press-release-details/2020/Grubhub-Releases-Second-Annual-State-of-the-Plate-Report/default.aspx, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/grubhub-releases-annual-year-in-food-report-detailing-the-top-trends-of-2020-301185335.html, https://blog.yelp.com/2020/06/yelp-and-impossible-foods-team-up-to-bring-the-all-new-impossible-sausage