The demand for plant-based meat is stronger than ever. Consumers of all eating preferences are seeking meatless alternatives for a variety of reasons — to support the environment, their health, or animal welfare — even if they’re not vegan or vegetarian. Restaurants who sell plant-based meat like Impossible™ Burger and Impossible™ Sausage Made From Plants echo this sentiment, reporting increased traffic, demand, loyalty and sales. Keep reading to learn why plant-based meat is a must for your menu and how to take advantage of this trend to grow your business.
1. The market for plant-based meat is huge and it's growing
A recent Gallup study found that 41% of Americans(opens in a new tab) have tried plant-based meats — and of those respondents, 60% said they were likely to continue eating them. A Technomic report found that 59% of consumers (opens in a new tab)say they eat meatless meals at least once a week, and 33% are actively trying to reduce their meat consumption.
Consumers’ increased interest and consideration of plant-based foods has led to impressive investments in the market. The plant-based meat industry is estimated to reach more than $35 billion in 2027(opens in a new tab) — up from $11 billion in 2019. Innovative alternative protein companies, which include plant-based meat, egg, and dairy as well as fermentation and other methods, raised $3.1 billion in funding(opens in a new tab) in 2020 — more than any other year in the industry’s history. As a result, restaurants who don’t offer plant-based options are missing out on a major market opportunity.
2. Plant-based burgers are driving massive restaurant sales
When it comes to plant-based meat, diners are putting their money where their mouth is. Food delivery platforms reported significant growth in plant-based ordering over the last several years. For example, DoorDash saw a 433% annual increase in plant-based burger orders(opens in a new tab), especially among 18- to 24-year-olds. GrubHub revealed that plant-based burgers were their second-most-ordered item in 2020(opens in a new tab) — with year-over-year growth of 291%. GrubHub customers also ordered 167% more Impossible Burgers in the first half of 2020, and by November, Impossible™ Cheeseburger orders were up 222%.(opens in a new tab)
For on-premise dining, Yelp reported a 140% increase(opens in a new tab) in mentions of “plant-based” in their reviews, as well as a 65% increase in “plant-based burger” and a 114% increase in “Impossible Burger.” In fact, “Impossible Burger” was one of Yelp’s most mentioned food phrases in 2019 (opens in a new tab)(along with fellow plant-based item “oat milk”).
Having plant-based items on your menu can even help you acquire new customers. An Impossible Burger survey found that 63% of respondents who had tried Impossible Burger were more likely to eat at restaurants that offer it, and 45% say they decided to order it before even entering the restaurant.
Mark Nicandri, Senior Vice President of Operations at Gott’s Roadside(opens in a new tab) said:
“We couldn’t be any more thrilled with the Impossible Burger! It has had a profound impact on our top line revenue, it couldn’t be any easier to work with, and most importantly — it has a fantastic taste! I am a huge fan!”
3. Plant-based meat offers menu diversity and creativity
The popularity of plant-based menu items isn’t just limited to burgers. In 2019, seven of GrubHub’s ten most popular items(opens in a new tab) were vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes. Cauliflower pizza took the number one spot, growing a whopping 650% year-over-year, and number three was portobello empanadas, which grew by 601%. Interest in creative plant-based foods continued in 2020, as GrubHub reported annual increases o(opens in a new tab)f 264% for tofu spring rolls, 242% for black bean tacos, and 183% for vegan ramen.
Restaurants around the world have come up with creative ways to incorporate meatless proteins into a variety of dishes and cuisines. You can see Impossible Foods’ meat made from plants on the menus of renowned chains and local favorites, including Little Bao(opens in a new tab)’s steamed buns, Dos Toros’(opens in a new tab) quesadillas, Veganos Kitchen’s(opens in a new tab) pizza, and Millie’s Cuban Cafe’s(opens in a new tab) picadillo sloppy joes. The beauty of Impossible™ meat made from plants is that it’s a 1:1 substitute for traditional meat, meaning the opportunities are endless.
And offering menu items made from alternative meats doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. 70% of consumers who have tried Impossible Burger say it tastes as good as or better than ground beef*. Our plant-based meat even cooks like traditional meat — searing on the outside with a pink juicy center — and provides the same amount of protein as a serving of 80/20 ground beef (19g per 4 oz serving).
4. Plant-based menu items draw in customers of all ages
Offering plant-based menu items helps restaurants cater to a diverse range of customers. The same Gallup study(opens in a new tab) found that consumers who have tried plant-based meat come from many demographics — including 39% of men and 43% of women, and 42% of white Americans and 38% of non-white Americans.
Plant-based meat is especially growing in popularity among millennials and Gen Z, who are motivated by social causes and prefer food that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. The Food Institute reports (opens in a new tab)that 65% of Gen Z want a more “plant-forward” diet, while 79% would eat meatless meals once or twice a week and listing Impossible Foods as their #1 preferred brand of choice(opens in a new tab). And Gen Z consumers are also willing to pay more for a sustainable product(opens in a new tab) because it aligns with their values.
5. Serving Impossible meat made from plants can increase traffic, demand and customer loyalty
Restaurants who serve Impossible menu items tell us that they encourage repeat visits and create loyal regulars. We surveyed Impossible™ customers to get their insights and found that 75% of diners who ordered Impossible™ items at a restaurant said they are likely to order them again within the next six months. A CGS survey also found that sustainable products drive demand and loyalty(opens in a new tab), with 68% of consumers considering sustainability when making a purchase and ‘sustainable and ethical business practices’ the second-highest reason they are loyal to a brand (after product quality). These insights are telling us that plant-based meat is no longer a 'nice to have' but a menu must.
If you want to attract more customers, showcase your commitment to sustainability and achieve your business goals, add Impossible meat to your menu for free today.(opens in a new tab)
*In a home usage study, 70% of 254 US consumers who cooked with Impossible™ Burger thought the taste was comparable to or better than ground beef from cows