A Fresh Start

Every new year, resolutions are made to eat better and exercise regularly. Whilst these plans are often laid to waste a few months in, the culture of healthy eating is on the rise and it is a trend that the food service industry cannot ignore.

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy, balanced diet can help you stay healthy so it’s important that we eat enough them. Evidence shows that there are significant health benefits to getting at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day (a portion is 80g). The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends eating 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. By offering your customers a wide range of dishes that include top quality fruit and vegetables, you will be a vital go-to convenience contributor in their choosing a healthy lifestyle.

People want healthier options to choose from breakfast, brunch, lunch and evening menus so don’t miss out on this ever growing consumer base. Breakfast on the go smoothies, oat milk porridge topped with fresh fruit, selection of fresh vegetables with their main courses and a stuffed butternut squash. The options are endless.

Customers want healthy options to choose from and having fruit and vegetables in your kitchen means that you can expand options on your menu and create offerings for the ever growing base of vegans and vegetarians. More and more people are spending money on vegan products and plant based diets are trending online. In 2018, Compare The Market conducted a survey on the rise of veganism and vegetarianism in the UK and results showed that 7% of the population are vegan and 14% are vegetarian whilst in Ireland, Bord Bia state that 2% are vegan and 8% are vegetarian but these figures are on the rise. Bold Bia conducted the study as it plans to figure out how the Irish food and drink sector should respond to the “challenges and opportunities that are presented by this shift”. In particular, Bord Bia said that it would like to understand the messaging that Ireland’s meat and dairy industries could use “to win these consumers back or reassure them about their food choices”. At the same time, however, it is also looking for growth opportunities for Irish plant-based food providers.

Whilst some consumers are 100% vegan or vegetarian, there is a group of ‘flexitarians’ or ‘casual vegetarianism’. This is an increasingly popular, plant-based diet that claims to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health with an eating regime that’s mostly vegetarian yet still allows for the occasional meat dish. The rise of the flexitarian diet is a result of people taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to what they eat by reducing their meat consumption in exchange for alternative protein sources. 

Giles Quick, director at market researcher Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The vegan market has changed fundamentally in the last six or seven years – it’s now for everyone. “Social media has brought it to the forefront of customer’s minds, and the mainstream. It’s not seen any more as a choice for life, but as a choice for one meal, one moment, for one or two days a week.” Flexitarianism, part-time vegetarianism or veganism, is becoming more and more popular. This January, more than 168,000 people pledged to go vegan for the first month of the year, under the ‘Veganuary’ campaign. With interest increasing all the time in healthy eating, part-time veganism might well become a full-time fixture in many people’s lives.

Veganism, Vegetarianism, Plant Based Meals and Flexitarianism are on the rise. Whilst you don’t need to change your entire menu, do have an offering for these growing markets.