Restaurants taking notice of plant-based push

One in two chefs (51%) has added vegan options to their menus this year, up from 31% in 2017, according to research by Foodable Labs.

The research, which is referenced here but does appear on Foodable’s website, also found that 62.7% of food influencers are looking for more plant-based delivery options.

The business insights company said 88.2% of “food influencers” engaged with plant-based content by chefs, with 61.2% sharing it with their own audiences – and what’s more, 39.6% of those then engaged with the chef’s content.

Social media sites like Instagram are fuelling interest in vegan, vegeatarian and flexitarian diets, according to research published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board last month.

“By claiming their credentials as a vegan, young people believe this shows the world they are ethical, healthy and environmentally aware. Not only this, they have taken to Instagram to follow vegan celebrities and lifestyle bloggers such as Big Gay Vegan and Deliciously Ella,” wrote AHDB senior consumer insight analyst Susie Stannard.

In fact, she added, “the growth of veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram. Of course, correlation does not imply causation but it is undeniable that the platform has been used very effectively as a tool to share recipes and ideology.”

Qualitative analysis by AHDB found that young people in particular were open to veganism but found it costly; they also weren’t convinced by the taste and “how it made them feel”.

Research from Ireland, published by Just-Eat in January, showed a 987% increase in demand for vegetarian options in 2017, with 33% of all the company’s suppliers now providing vegan and vegetarian options on their menus.

 Demand for healthy choices generally grew 94% in 2017 versus 2016 and gluten-free options increased 72%, the delivery service said.

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