Global meat consumption has experienced a rapid increase since 2014 according to Euromonitor International. As the global population continues to expand, meat consumption and vegetarian lifestyle will also rise; however, beef and veal consumption has declined in most parts of the world. Beef and veal consumption fell by 3% in the US last year compared to 2014 data. This consumption also receded in Australia, Europe, and South America; instead, experienced growth in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific regions. One of the reasons for this consumption decline across Europe could be linked to consumer fears over the negative health effects associated with red meat consumption; some of these are cardiovascular disorders and colon cancer.
In the US consumers have switched to eating different types of meat; pork and poultry experienced 8% and 5% growth respectively compared to last year.
The consumer research company Mintel published statistics in September 2014 about food. They estimate that 12% of UK adults, and 20% of those aged between 16 and 24, follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. There is an additional 35% of the meat-eating population who try to choose vegetarian options and find more sustainable protein sources – flexitarians is the name of these people.
This trend has resulted in more vegetarian dishes on the menu (31% of new menu items each year are vegetarian according to research conducted by M&C Allegra Foodservice).
Offering vegetables as a meal option is not just about catering to a niche sector of the market; it is becoming a valid food offer in its own right. Chefs in Michelin-starred gourmet restaurants in Paris and London are experimenting with vegetables and even creating their own new varieties. This will influence the offers into the pub market also.
A research of Vegetarian Express
Vegetarian and vegan food supplier Vegetarian Express conducted its own research of 300 consumers in February 2015. More than half of consumers felt that menus didn’t have enough vegetarian dishes and a third wanted to see between five and ten options offered. The managing director Will Matier said that if pubs are to compete, they must offer more choice, not just in terms of the number of dishes, but also in the quality of food. in the quality of food. 71% of people would like to see more protein incorporated into vegetarian dishes, of which 63% opted for beans. This is a highly nutritious meat substitute benefiting from being low in fat and cholesterol-free.
Whatever the motivation for this steep change in people’s eating habits, experts in the field predict it will continue. A potential market of around 20 million people wanting to eat meat-free; this means that pubs need to look seriously at their food offer. Pub chefs need to ensure their menus are providing variety as well as good quality. They have some serious choices to make!