Over the past few months, retail shops have reported significant increases in sales of vegan products as the cost of dairy and meat has risen faster than the plant-based alternatives.
In October 2022, the cost of dairy milk had risen by 26.7% compared to the same time last year, while almond and oat milk increased by 7.9% and 8.2% respectively.
Meat prices have also risen faster than their plant-based counterparts, in some cases far beyond inflation. In October 2022, the cost of chicken breasts jumped by 17.4%, while Quorn chicken-style pieces rose by 10.4%. Sausages were up 8.6% since October last year, compared to vegan sausages, which were 7.7% more expensive. Source: Trolley.
With more and more meat eaters moving towards a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet, and with Veganuary just around the corner, foodservice businesses should be preparing their menus to meet the demand, maximise profitability and kick-start trading in 2023.
The opportunity is huge! Only 66% of UK consumers would describe their diet as "not following any nutrition rules" and approximately 3% now identify themselves as vegan. What’s more, nearly 630,000 people took part in Veganuary 2022 and the UK market for meat substitutes is now worth over 500 million euros, making it the largest in Europe.
So, by offering plant-based dishes on menus this January (and beyond), hospitality and foodservice businesses are not only meeting consumer demand, but providing they’re costed out accurately using a menu management solution like MenuIQ, these menu items often generate great profit margins.
Meat dish costs are likely to be around 30% in contrast to 15% for plant-based dishes, meaning you can lower your price point (which also widens your customer base) while increasing your margins.
Be sure to carefully consider your ingredients – menus can be engineered to use fewer ingredients, making use of the same products across multiple dishes.
And don’t forget there are plenty of plant-based upselling opportunities; for example, non-dairy milk and vegan syrups in hot drinks, vegan toppings, sauces and extra side dishes, all of which increase purchase prices.
We work with over 130 national and independent food and drink suppliers across the UK, and due to the ever-increasing demand for plant-based alternatives, we hold regular cook-offs and sampling sessions focusing on meat-free products. We can therefore recommend tried-and tested products and brands for all budgets, available through our trusted network of suppliers.
Additionally, as owner-operators of a portfolio of foodservice outlets, we have first-hand experience of menu engineering – and we know exactly what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to plant-based dishes. So should you need assistance, we’re always here to help.