Operators have been falling over themselves to expand their plant-based menus – and it seems their efforts are justified after data revealed the number of reviews mentioning the word ‘vegan’ during the first three weeks of January 2020 is more than double last year’s figure.
Numbers pulled together by customer feedback specialist Feed It Back show references to the word vegan on restaurant, pub and bar reviews are up 104%.
The insight also reveals that the average social review score mentioning the word vegan has reduced from 4.5 out of 5, to 4.3 over the past year, indicating that consumer expectations of vegan dishes have risen.
With statistics from market research firm, Mintel, revealing that one in four food products released in 2019 were vegan, the momentum built in ‘Veganuary’ 2019 continued to drive new product and menu development over the past 12 months, which has impacted the expectations of consumers.
Delving deeper into the statistics, the main drivers behind positive reviews mentioning ‘vegan’ during Veganuary 2020 are based around taste, with 16% of positive reviews referencing the word ‘delicious’.
This is closely followed by variety with ‘choice’ equating to 15% of all positive reviews; with ‘price’ coming in third with 12%.
In terms of which product categories operators might need to do better, 11% of all negative vegan reviews mentioned the word ‘breakfast’ followed by ‘burgers’ (7%); and ‘pizza’ at (2%).
Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back, said: “Veganism was the stand-out trend of 2019, gathering significant momentum throughout the year and attracting the attention of new product development across the hospitality and retail industries.
“Consequently, the figures reveal there has been a spike in consumer expectations around what constitutes quality vegan dishes and with more consumers opting to trial veganism during Veganuary the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
“While there’s been an increase in the amount of choice available to people adopting a vegan diet, there still remains work to be done on refining dishes at particular parts of the day, namely the breakfast daypart. Staying close to the evolving trends of the hospitality industry and remaining dynamic to tracking, reviewing and analysing the performance of new dishes, not just on sales but also guest sentiment, is imperative to remaining competitive in the challenging high street market.”