Today, Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world after the United Arab Emirates and China in vegan packaged food, an industry worth $136 million. This market is predicted to grow to $215 million by 2020, according to Euromonitor International, a market research company.

A study carried out by the CSIRO and the University of Adelaide found that one in six Australians are buying plant based milk alternatives (almond, soy, oat, coconut), regardless of whether they have an intolerance to dairy.

With veganism on the rise and here to stay, restaurants need a menu with a good selection of both vegan and vegetarian dishes to keep new clientele coming in.

Social trends to be aware of:  

The stats are showing us the way… by providing several vegan alternatives, you are not only satisfying your vegan and vegetarian customers, you are also inviting the non-vegans to visit your restaurant with their vegan friends. So everyone wins.

Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or a flexitarian?

There is also another group of people to cater for – the “flexitarians”, people who are mostly vegan but occasionally consume meat. In the majority of cases, parties of people will have vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians.

We are far more educated today around nutrition, diets and wellbeing than we were even five years ago. People opt for vegetarian and vegan diets based on health and wellness, or because they oppose the slaughter of animals and millennials are leading the way.

How much of your menu needs to be vegan/vegetarian?

Last year, 51% of chefs in the UK added vegan dishes to their menus and they believe this is not only necessary, it is also profitable. In the US last year, restaurant owners saw a 13 per cent increase in business by adding vegan options.

Veganism is no longer an “alternative” and 2019 might be the year that vegan diets finally go mainstream. We recommend diversifying your menus and catering to all dietary needs. With a menu that has a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes to satisfy 100% your clientele. As a restaurant manager, these decisions come down to your clientele and their preferences.

Introducing vegan and vegetarian menu items can be a gradual process. Perhaps start with those dishes that are not popular and look at removing animal products here first. Make it a subtle transition and let your social media followers know there are new dishes on the menu just as you would your other new dishes, but that these new ones are vegan or plant based. In other words, don’t make it a big deal, introduce vegan and vegetarian dishes like it is part of your normal changing menu.

The point here is that vegan and vegetarian diets need not be treated like it is alternative or different, we evolved past this now and they are just personal preferences that your restaurant fulfils.

Your local H&L Account Manager is here to help

H&L has account managers in every state with people on the ground and only a phone call away. We are hospitality people so we live and breathe your challenges and support you to achieve your goals. If you need help with developing menus with more vegan and vegetarian alternatives, call your local H&L account manager or call H&L on 1300 778 340 – we are here to help.