It seems everywhere you turn nowadays, there’s a million different ways to eat.
From Paleo to keto; vegan to flexitarian; dairy free to gluten free; it seems like everyone is labelling their appetite although we’re almost forgetting the original hipsters, the vegetarians.
While we’re seeing many QSR’s implement dining behaviors into their product range, vegetarians remain one of the most committed and long term style of consumer. They were the first to demand to be recognised in the food industry and have driven menu innovation and change over the last ten or so years.
Vegetarians are one of the easier dietary habit customers to satisfy as although they don’t consume meat, they’ll often consume animal-derived products like honey, eggs and cheese, and they favour a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans and other legumes, and whole grains.
And the numbers are growing. In Australia alone, it’s estimated over 3.5 million people are now vegetarian.
QSR’s have recognised this growing market globally, and have started creating menu items designed specifically for those who favour a plant based diet, as well as people wanting healthier options.
Burger King has just launched a meat-free version of its iconic Whopper in the United States, known as the Impossible Whopper. It’s made with a plant-based patty and prepared in the same way as a traditional Whopper, with mayonnaise and a sesame-seed bun.
McDonald’s has created a vegan burger called the McVegan that’s available in Finland and Sweden, while in Australia, Hungry Jacks has created a vegan cheeseburger made from corn, capsicum, carrot and vegan cheese.
Other than burgers, fast-food chains are also adapting their menus with salads and poke bowls to meet demand. QSR’s are quickly realising that if they’re not diversifying their menu and offering something for consumer preferences and tastes, they’re risking losing customers and being left behind when it comes to innovation.
By far, the most consistent QSR’s to offer vegetarian options are Mexican style, including Mad Mex, Salsa’s and Guzmen Y Gomez. These outlets are leading the pack with their menu and ability to customise a meal based on the needs of a plant-based diet.
As more people continue to recognise the benefits to their health, animals and the planet of plant-based eating, they will continue to seek out healthy, vegetarian, fast-food options.
And for QSR’s introducing better vegetarian options, they’re capturing a larger piece of the market.