Consumers prefer specific plant-based alternatives when dining at restaurants

NPD reports on significant consumption differences

What US consumers will eat at restaurants is likely to differ from what they eat at home. Food research firm The NPD Group provided some insights into potential plant-based opportunities for foodservice establishments, which include restaurants. When compared to animal proteins, for example, plant-based meat analogues represent just one percent of shipments to restaurants and other types of foodservice venues, despite their exponential growth, according to NPD.

A total of 93 percent of meals or snacks with milk alternatives are consumed at home, while 7 percent of these are consumed at a restaurant or foodservice establishment. However, when it comes to meat analogues, 78 percent of these eating occasions take place at a restaurant and 22 percent at home.


Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, notes that consumers are attracted to consuming meat analogues from restaurants because of the preparation method. Specifically, these are prepared in the same as manner as animal proteins, so diners aren’t sacrificing taste, which is something they cannot replicate the restaurant taste at home.

He added, “Dairy alternatives, on the other hand, are an at-home choice because these beverages and foods are convenient as a ready-to-drink beverage or to use as an ingredient.”

With respect to dairy beverage alternatives, consumers have been drawn to the “health-halo” effect of plant-based foods. That’s why they’re drinking almond milk, for example, instead of dairy milk. Plus, many consumers have been cutting back on dairy products, while others are incorporating plant-based milk at the same time that they continue to consume dairy milk.


NPD reports that plant-based meat alternatives have grown at double the rate of animal proteins. More importantly, they have expanded way beyond the veggie burger. There are analogues now for poultry, seafood and pork, taking the category beyond products that simply emulate beef.

Photo credit: Impossible Foods (featured preview image)

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