Fuller’s said today that more customers are choosing vegetarian and vegan meals from its menus as it toasted a 4% increase in food sales over the past year.
The pub chain, which recorded a 7% rise in sales to £431m for the year to 30 March 2019, said the quest for healthier food choices comes against a backdrop of increased non-alcoholic drink sales.
“Our food sales have grown by 3.9% on a like for like basis and within this, we are seeing an increasing number of people eating vegetarian or vegan meals more frequently,” said CEO Simon Emeny.
“There is no doubt that consumer lifestyles have changed with customers being more flexitarian – for example electing to have a couple of meat-free days each week. This is further evidenced by The Stable, which held free Vegan Pizza events in a number of sites to celebrate International Vegan Day.”
Mr Emeny said that anecdotal evidence suggests that those who are committed to a meat-free diet, and the younger generation in general, will carefully study menus in advance.
Fuller’s introduced the Ten Kites system to its business two years ago, allowing customers to search a menu by dietary requirements.
It has gained significant traction and 39% of site visitors are now searching the menu for vegan and vegetarian options.
“In addition to ensuring we have a balanced food offer that can cater not just for different diets, but also for different day parts, we continue to focus on building our chefs’ reputations using signature dishes,” continued Mr Emeny.
“Our pubs use these special, house-specific, dishes to provide a sense of occasion for those looking for something special – and we encourage our pubs to use their bespoke signature dishes to celebrate the seasonal elements of their menus.”