When McDonald’s announced it was introducing a plant-based burger to its menu, the foodservice and restaurant industries paid close attention. A number of big QSR chains, from A&W to KFC, have made similar moves in recent years, but the announcement from McDonald’s, the godfather of “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”, generated particular interest. Analysts and industry insiders watched and waited to see what would happen.
The burger was launched in the U.S. in 2020 as McPlant, and in Canada as the P.L.T. (Plant. Lettuce. Tomato.). It was made with Beyond Meat.
While some research suggests that interest in veganism is waning slightly, other numbers indicate the plant-based trend is growing at a healthy rate. Research from Aaron Allen, for example, finds that from 2018 to 2021, the U.S. plant-based food market grew at a 16% CAGR. As the analyst points out, that’s more than twice the growth of foodservice (6% CAGR) and more than four times the growth of coffee (3% CAGR). Similarly, in the grocery sector, the Good Food Institute reported that according to April 2021 data, sales of plant-based foods that directly replaced animal products had jumped 27% in one year, reaching $7 billion.
We decided to dig into plant-based eating on Brizo FoodMetrics, using our highly granular filters to get the lay of the land. We started by entering the keywords “plant based” in the search tool, then drilled down from there using additional filters like dietary style, median price, and online reviews. Here’s what we found:
So while the number of foodservice establishments that offer plant based is about 5% of the foodservice market, there’s no doubt that plant-based items continue to have a strong growing presence on menus across North America.
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