How are chain restaurants responding to the rise in veganism?
Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement in the UK and for good reason. People are becoming more aware of the welfare of animals and are starting to make a change in their eating habits. A gap in the market has appeared and chain restaurants and independent vegan businesses are filling it with delicious like-for-like mock meat and dairy-free options.
In 2021 Finder’s research found that there were 6,426 UK restaurants with vegan options or vegetarian options. Sometimes, out of convenience or if dining with non-vegans, a chain restaurant can be the only way to enjoy a dining experience together. Popular food establishments are developing their menus to cater for vegans.
Have you tried Pizza Express’ Vegan American Hot, which uses smoky jackfruit ‘pepperoni’? Visited Wagamama who flaunt their 50% plant-based Asian cuisine? YO! Sushi with their 26 satisfying plates, making up nearly a third of their menu? Or, most recently, McDonald’s has a Double McPlant burger using Beyond Meat.
Making a difference
Convenient vegan options can entice individuals to tuck into their favourite dish, but veganised, within comfortable familiar surroundings. As long as the meals available are on par with the rest of the menu, it is a reason to revisit. The competition is stronger than ever, so a bland, measly mushroom or butternut squash, isn’t going to cut it. We hope that the disappointment on family and business outings - knowing that salads or french fries would be the only offerings - is a thing of the past.
If it weren’t for vegan eateries, would this be happening?
Of course, we admire every independent vegan eatery out there, big or small, widening our eyes to a full vegan menu, being spoiled for choice with a fulfilling dining experience: handmade seitan, innovative vegetable recipe twists, and tofu scramble alongside mouth-watering meat-like feasts.
This makes it possible to relish all of the goodness and taste sensations that meat-free meals have to offer. It is partly because of these businesses that chain restaurants may need to expand their menus. In 2022, Deliveroo reported that more restaurants than ever - a whopping 15,000 across the UK - had introduced plant-based menus and dishes to their regular offering.