Vegetarians Demand More Variety on Menus

Vegetarian Express Ltd

Vegetarian Express Ltd

Standard Supplier 20th April 2015

Vegetarians Demand More Variety on Menus

Over half of consumers feel there are not enough vegetarian dishes on menus when eating out, with a third wanting to see between five and ten options available, recent research has found*. The latest research also revealed that of the 26% of consumers choosing not to eat meat, 14% do so because they are vegetarian, while a similar number (12%) consider themselves to be ‘flexitarian’ - demonstrating that it’s not only consumers turning to a strict diet that are driving the market, but meat-reducers seeking out a way to eat a more balanced diet.
The independent research commissioned by Vegetarian Express – the UK’s premier specialist distributor of vegetarian and vegan ingredients – looked into the demand for vegetarian menu options, highlighting the fact that consumers would like a greater choice of vegetarian dishes when dining out.
With regards to menu success, when asked which cuisine consumers felt best caters for vegetarians, 41% said Indian, followed by British (28%) and Asian (22%). Mexican and American were both cited as the types of cuisine least likely to cater for vegetarian diets.
Caterers do, however, have plenty of scope to introduce more vegetarian options across all sections of the menu with the greatest demand being for more mains (69%) followed by starters (35%). A surprising 16% said they would like to see the offering extended to the children’s menu, while 12% would like to see more vegetarian bar snacks.

Meanwhile, a huge 71% of customers would like to see lighter vegetarian options – perfect for those outlets looking to target the snacking market – while 17% think there should be more breakfast options available. Interestingly, Christmas is cited as a key time to capture more of the market with 23% of respondents saying they would like to see additional vegetarian options offered during the festive period. When it comes to ingredients, 71% of people would like to see more protein incorporated into vegetarian dishes, of which 63% opted for beans – a highly nutritious meat substitute benefitting from being low in fat and cholesterol free. This is followed by nuts (48%), tofu (37%) and quinoa (31%). Commenting on the findings, Will Matier, Managing Director at Vegetarian Express, says: “There’s no doubt about it, the vegetarian market is growing. You just have to look at the number of dedicated vegetarian restaurants opening up on the high street to see evidence of that. “If caterers are to compete, they must offer more choice, not just in terms of the number of dishes but also the quality of food. Vegetarians want more than just one or two bog standard dishes to choose between – menus need to reflect this with innovative new recipes, exciting flavours and interesting ingredients. After all, vegetarians deserve the same eating out experience as everyone else.

“For those caterers that take no action now, it’s not just business from vegetarians that they could face losing out on, but also their friends and family – three quarters of people would be influenced on where to dine if they or a member of their party were vegetarian.” As supplier and consultant to the catering industry, Vegetarian Express also provides expert advice on nutrition and menu planning; its website is packed full of ideas and advice including innovative recipes developed by Paul Gayler MBE and a useful infographic highlighting the key research findings.

As well as getting inspired, chefs can learn more about Vegetarian Express’ extensive range of products ranging from staple dried goods and ethnic cooking sauces to Mediterranean deli goods and over 150 authentic herbs and spices to bring dishes to life.

* Toluna/Vegetarian Express 2015

To find out more about Vegetarian Express please call 01923 249714
or visit

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