• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - Plant-based foods offer meaty alternative to diners

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

News RSS

Plant-based foods offer meaty alternative to diners

Plant-based foods aren’t just for vegans or vegetarians anymore.

New research from Nielsen indicates plant-based food sales have risen 20 percent over the last year and is continuing to grow. Why? Because consumers, especially millennials, want more healthful foods that leave less of an environmental impact.

The upshot: more restaurants are catering to this coveted 18- to 35-year-old demographic. At least that’s what Tracy McGinnis of Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts thinks.

McGinnis, who will speak on the subject at our upcoming Restaurant Innovations Summit, Nov. 7-8, says even though the trend has been around for a while, its growth is picking up even more steam at fast-casual and full-service restaurants.

“People are looking for foods they can eat every day that make their bodies feel good, provide the energy necessary to fuel them throughout the day, but don’t negatively impact the environment,” she said. “It’s not just vegans and vegetarians leading this trend. People who would rather not eat animal-based proteins every day are on board, too.”

McGinnis, Fox’s marketing director, said the company started its Flower Child concept to serve customers who wanted to feel good about their food choices every day. Now, the fast-casual chain specializes in salads, wraps and bowls that are strictly vegetarian or vegan, or include grass-fed beef, natural chicken, sustainable salmon or non-GMO sourced tofu. They also feature plant-based, protein-friendly alternatives, like brown rice and quinoa.

Why are millennials interested in plant-based items? McGinnis cites three reasons:

  1. They’re much more informed about where their food comes from
  2. They want to know how it is prepared
  3. They want to understand how the food affects their bodies as well as the environment

“They’ve made the decision to change their style of eating based on those reasons,” she said. “That’s where the trend comes from.”

The popularity of plant-based alternatives is also providing expanded opportunities within the industry, she added.

“It is offering opportunities to people who want to open restaurants with plant-based menus and to diners who want more concepts serving those foods,” she noted. “I don’t think we’ll ever see the demise of the steakhouse; they’ll always be an audience for that. But I do think people are going to start spending their [food] dollars differently.”

See Tracy and other restaurant industry experts at the Restaurant Innovation Summit, Nov. 7-8, in Dallas. Register here.

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

New report

Spot Ad right

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156