There has never been a better time to be a vegetarian. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are conjuring up meat like products closer than ever to the real thing, giant restaurant chains like Wendy’s are (finally!) testing veggie burgers, and the science supporting the meat-free lifestyle just keeps coming.
Sales of vegetarian products are on the rise. In 2013, 12% of new food and drink products worldwide had vegetarian claims, double the 6% in 2009, according to Mintel, a food trend research group. In addition to this, 2% of global food and drink launches carried a vegan claim in 2013, up from 1% in 2009. When you consider just how large the global food market is that adds up to huge growth!
Fueling the rising sales are not only the growing number of vegetarians, but also a very large increase in the vegetarian-curious people who are eager to dip their toes and give vegetarian foods a try. According to Global Food Science Analyst, Laura Jones, “Plant-based and other vegetarian protein sources align with consumer interest in reducing red meat consumption and growing interest in vegetarian products. Indeed, consumers are shifting towards more plant-based diets.”
Amy’s, the all-vegetarian food manufacturer, is opening a fast food drive-thru later this month in Rohnert Park, California, a city north of San Francisco. It’s another first for the vegetarian world. It’s also a sign that more and more people are looking for vegetarian food.
The restaurant will offer vegetarian burgers, burritos, salads, and chili, as well as vegan non-dairy shakes. Each menu item can be ordered vegan and 95% of ingredients are organic. The prices look pretty good too: burgers for $2.99, burritos for $4.69, salads with seasonal produce will start as low as $3.99.
Seeing the growing trend, Wendy’s has just started test marketing veggie burgers. Wendy’s, which formerly offered no vegetarian friendly entrees, has started serving veggie burgers at two locations in Ohio. Burger King added veggie burgers to their menu way back in 2002, while White Castle, a chain popular on the East Coast, got in on the action this past December. Burger King has a special menu in India to cater to the large number of vegetarians there. Now rumor has it that Burger King might begin offering items from the specially-designed menu featured in India around the world.
It’s very encouraging to see more and more restaurants responding to the growing demand for vegetarian meals. We do have a suggestion for Amy’s though: open your next drive-thru in Seattle!