Why consider plant-based in your menu?

Why should you consider Plant-Based in your menu?

At the beginning, the plant-based trend was slowly digested, and its continuity was questioned. But now is the time to take this trend seriously.

The global plant-based food market size is estimated to grow annually at a CAGR of ~15.07% over the forecast period (2023-2030)1

What is plant based food?

A plant-based diet primarily includes foods derived from plants. These include not only fruits and vegetables, but also grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. While some interpretations of a plant-based diet incorporate moderate amounts of animal-based foods, others adhere to a stricter definition, excluding all animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey. The term "plant-based" can thus encompass a variety of dietary patterns, from veganism at one end of the spectrum, to more flexible approaches like vegetarianism and flexitarianism at the other. The key unifying factor is an emphasis on consuming foods that come directly from plants.

The definition of a plant-based diet is not limited solely to the types of foods consumed. It also relates to the quality of these foods. A healthful plant-based diet prioritizes whole or minimally processed plant foods and limits intake of highly processed products, regardless of their plant origin.

The adoption of a plant-based diet is often driven by various motivations, including health, environmental impact, and animal welfare concerns. Understanding the nature and benefits of a plant-based diet can help inform dietary choices and facilitate the transition to more plant-based eating patterns.

Vegan and vegetarian: What is the difference?

Both vegan and vegetarian diets focus primarily on plant-based foods, but there are differences between the two diets. 

Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish, but may consume dairy products, eggs and other products derived from animals. 

On the other hand, vegan diet strictly avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs, and often exclude honey as well. 

Why include plant-based in your menus? 

Plant-based eaters are growing. The study conducted by Smart Protein Project revealed that 51% of European meat eaters claim to have reduced their yearly meat intake, up from 46% in 20212. Germany, France, and Italy lead the way. The flexitarian population (27%) is the target having a bigger share than plant-based eaters (vegan & vegetarians, 7% of population). Noticeably, what is noticed is that there were fewer flexitarians in 2023 compared to 2021 (3% less) caused by an increase in the number vegans and pescatarians by 1%.

Health is by far the most important motivator followed by Animal welfare and the environment. However, price and taste remain the first barriers for consumption.  

We are going to take a look to 4 reasons of implementing plant-based in your menu. This can be adapted to all kind of etablissment in the foodservice. 

1. Stand out in the food service industry: distinctive plant-based meals

Incorporating plant-based dishes into your menu helps your establishment to stand out from the competition and meet the needs of your customers. 
Offering original and creative plant-based options appeals to a wide range of people, such as those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or even those curious about discovering new things.
Use plant-based foods such as pulses and wholegrain cereals to pique your customers' interest and give them culinary experiences they won't find elsewhere.

In bakery, the demand for vegan pastry is estimated to grow at a steady 6.2% CAGR, 2023-20333. Consumers are asking for more plant-based sweets and snacks (30%) and plant-based baked goods such as bread and pastries (28%)4.  

2. Economic benefits of plant-based menus

Contrary to popular belief, plant-based ingredients can be more economical than meat. Using plant-based proteins such as pulses, cereals and vegetables can reduce the overall cost of the diet while providing hearty and satisfying meals. 
In addition, these plant-based dishes sometimes require less processing and can be bought locally to further reduce costs, making them an effective option for your menu.

3. Appeal to all generations

Plant-based menus have broad demographic appeal. By offering plant-based options, you can cater for the ethical and dietary preferences of younger generations while appealing to health-conscious older consumers. Targeting gen z also enables you to encourage sharing on social networks and thus gain visibility with prospects. 
However, make sure that your marketing communications promote all age groups.

Social media played its part in the diffusion of the trend and in 2023, the sentiments around plant-based bakery improved and was mostly positive (99% positivity VS 87% in 2022)5. Plant-based recipes and plant-based ingredients were all over social media especially plant-based dessert recipes and sandwiches with pita, bagel and loaves. Positive hashtags like yummy and delicious supported the positive attitude towards this trend. Consumers remarkably linked online Plant-Based with a healthy diet and lifestyle and showed their love for vegan breakfast.

So don't hesitate to share images of your dishes on social networks and encourage your customers to do it!

4. Diverse and inclusive menu options

Offering a range of plant-based dishes means you can cater for different dietary needs and preferences, including those of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians. So it increases your customer potential in your establishment. 

In EU, 56% choose to eat at restaurants that serve both, animal, and plant-based meals (56%), compared to restaurants only serving plant-based food (44%)6. Therefore, the necessity of adding plant-based items to your menu.

Variety not only keeps your menu interesting but also encourages repeat business from customers eager to try new dishes.

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet has many advantages, especially from an environmental point of view.

Benefits of a plant based on the environment

Adopting a plant-based diet is not only beneficial for you and your customers, it's also good for the planet. Here are some environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption and increasing plant food consumption:

  • Lower carbon footprint: Animal agriculture is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Plants require significantly less resources, like water and land, and they produce fewer greenhouse gases compared to meat production.
  • Conservation of water: It takes considerably less water to produce plant-based foods than to produce meat.
  • Biodiversity preservation:  One of the main causes of deforestation and habitat destruction is livestock farming. Adopting a plant-based diet helps reduce the demand for meat, thus conserving natural habitats and protecting wildlife.
  • Reduced pollution: Animal farms produce significant amounts of animal manure and other pollutants that can contaminate waterways and soil. Plant-based farming typically results in less pollution and can even improve soil health through sustainable practices like crop rotation.

Plant-based ideas to add to your menu

Are you looking for plant foods options for your restaurant, coffee shop or bakery? We have you cover ! The future of plant food diet is here: Délifrance Impact, a range that combines plant-based ingredients with absolute indulgence.

1 Facts& factors, 2023: plant-Based Food Market Size, Share Global Analysis Report, 2023 – 2030

3 future market insights, 2023: vegan pastry market, forecast 2023-2033.

5 World Health Organization 2021. Plant-based diets and their impact on health, sustainability and the environment: a review of the evidence

2,4,6 Smart protein, 2023: Plant-based foods in Europe: How big is the market?