Over a quarter will choose plant-based when restaurants reopen

Over a quarter of Americans will choose plant-based meat alternatives when restaurants reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, a significant number of Americans are looking to improve their habits to lessen the impact on their health, the planet and those that inhabit it with them.

A survey by OnePoll on behalf of Meatless Farm revealed that 26% of American adults were now more likely than before the lockdown to choose a plant-based meat option once restaurants reopen.

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With Americans champing at the bit to get back to daily routines and neighborhood restaurants, these findings are a telling sign of what restaurant operators should expect from eager customers once it is safe to return to dining rooms.

The survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults also reveals that more than half of those who responded would describe themselves as meat-eaters. Considering the stay-at-home orders, one in five respondents said they are eating more plant-based meals now than they were previously, and the same amount of surveyed adults said they would be most likely to try a plant-based meat alternative at a fast food chain, rather than the other options which included independent restaurants, premium burger chains and so on.

This positive attitude in favor of more plant-based meals in the fast food space is something that the foodservice industry will experience as restaurants begin reopening and looking for ways to bring more of their loyal customers back through their doors.

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Americans are now more informed about what they consume, which has given rise to a deeper interest in plant-based options that can positively impact their health, the economy and the environment. Along with these findings, the survey also showed that:

  • 39% of American adults have chosen a plant-based meat option when dining out in the last 12 months
  • 26% of U.S. adults polled say they are more likely than they were before lockdown to choose a plant-based meat option in the next 12 months when restaurants reopen
  • 41% ranked meaty qualities (succulence, taste and texture) as the most important factor when choosing a plant-based burger
  • 45% of respondents believe every dish on a restaurant’s menu should be available as a meatless option
  • 20% say they are most likely to try a plant-based meat alternative at a fast food chain, followed by 13% opting for an independent restaurant and 12% choosing a premium burger chain
  • One in four (26%) say they are more likely to visit a restaurant, bar or café if it has a dedicated plant-based menu
  • 38% agree that they are more likely to try a plant-based burger if it is made by a brand vs. the restaurants’ own vegan burger
  • 62% of U.S. adults polled admit to feeling anxious about the prospect of visiting a restaurant, bar or café when they reopen after lockdown

“Given the surge the grocery business has seen in plant-based sales over the past several months – whether it be because of meat shortages, an increased willingness to try a new product as more Americans dine at home or a myriad of other reasons – we aren’t surprised that restaurant dining habits are likely to follow suit, especially at fast food chains,” says Kasper Vesth, General Manager of Meatless Farm North America.

“Meeting these new consumer demands will be pivotal for restaurants that are looking forward to reopening and regaining their footing in this new ‘normal’ and Meatless Farm’s foodservice capabilities have been built out to assist with supplying our meat free burger patties, ground and breakfast sausage products as soon as restaurants are ready.”

All figures are from OnePoll. Total sample size was 2,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 23rd June 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).