Market insight: Veganuary ‘not just for January’

Recent Americana research found that half of consumers make permanent changes to their diets following Veganuary participation..

Veganuary provides the perfect moment for the nation to reflect on their dietary choices, whether for environmental, health or animal welfare reasons. And while it may only last 31 days, it seems that it is enough for 51% consumers to establish permanent dietary changes.

Recent research by Lantmännen Unibake’s Americana brand illustrated the consumer desire for all things plant-based, with 68% of consumers surveyed saying they were planning to take part in Veganuary 2022. Of the 68%, 90% were planning to extend their new vegan or plant-based diets beyond 31st January and 92% said they would consider ordering a vegan dish at any time of year. Therefore, it is more important than ever that operators offer enticing gourmet vegan menu options throughout the year.

With the meat-free market being worth £600m – and 66% of consumers opting for, or being open to, meat-alternative dishes – an appealing vegan menu can provide a rewarding opportunity for outlets. With more consumers demanding premium vegan options on the menu, and 52% of them expecting to see a gourmet vegan burger listed, operators can combine both trends to create a compelling vegan burger menu that allows customers to trade up to gourmet.

Samantha Winsor, brand manager for Lantmännen Unibake’s Americana brand, said: “Veganuary provides outlets with the perfect opportunity to showcase their vegan menus, attracting new customers looking for quality plant-based. Providing ongoing quality and varied vegan menu choices can result in ongoing opportunities throughout the rest of the year.

“A mainstay of every menu is the ongoing burger trend and consumer demand for quality ingredients. Outlets can target both the burger and vegan trend in one go through a gourmet vegan burger offering, enticing new diners through the door.”

The research supports this message by highlighting that 94% of consumers expect to see the same variety of plant-based menu options throughout the year as are on offer in Veganuary. Consumers also want quality, with 92% saying it is an important factor when choosing a vegan dish. Some 66% of consumers say that gourmet options influence their purchasing decisions, while eight out of 10 say that the variety of vegan or plant-based menu options positively influences their choice of venue.

As these trends continue to gain traction, operators can capitalise by ensuring vegan options are clearly marked on the menu alongside recommended trade-up options. It’s also important to ensure that vegan options don’t compromise on taste, quality or flavour. Therefore, invest in menu development and stay on top of current vegan trends to deliver outstanding vegan gourmet burger options throughout the year.

Lantmännen Unibake’s Americana ambassador DJ BBQ commented: “Plant-based cooking is where it’s at. The growth rate is exponential and not slowing down. With half of consumers expecting plant-based burger options on a menu, its vital that every operator has a decent vegetarian and/or vegan burger on their menu.

“A veggie burger also says a lot about a restaurant. They aren’t easy and can often be dry and flavour=less. But if you can do a decent vegan or vegetarian option then you’re ticking all boxes. Many vegan and veggie options can also be prepared and served quickly.”

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