General managers and other restaurant food inventory professionals often balk at the thought of swapping traditional ingredients for plant-based products because of the perceived higher cost that comes with the transition. However, plant-based products don’t have to be a financial burden to your business; in fact, they can actually help boost your sales and revenue in the long run. Read on to discover four reasons why using plant-based products is financially beneficial for your foodservice business.
1. They reduce food costs
From increased inflation and high material costs to supply chain shortages and delayed deliveries, the pandemic has had a major impact on foodservice businesses’ bottom lines. In some instances, businesses have permanently closed, and those that have managed to keep the doors open have had to deal with skyrocketing prices of beef, pork, and poultry products.
As of November 2021, the price of beef and veal has increased by 20.1% since November 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thankfully, these high prices have the potential to be offset by swapping meat for plant-based alternative proteins such as spirulina, quinoa, and lentils. Additionally, plant-based meat is expected to reach cost parity with conventional meat by 2023, says Good Food Institute, a nonprofit organization. Some experts even expect plant-based meat to become cheaper than conventional meat depending on the growing demand for plant-based products.
With plant-based products, foodservice businesses will also be able to reduce food waste. Meat and dairy products have shorter shelf lives and have to be stored at certain temperatures depending on their preparation. Plant-based products, on the other hand, typically have a longer shelf life.
For example, OddlyGood’s Mozzarella-Style Plant-Based Log Cheese Alternative has a shelf life of 180 days compared to regular fresh mozzarella cheese, which usually only stays fresh for one to two weeks in the refrigerator.
2. They establish your place in an emerging industry
As foodservice businesses continually seek new customers in a fluid socio-economic landscape, it’s important to find areas to stand out.
According to Bloomberg, the plant-based food market will reach $162 billion in value by 2030. Additionally, technological innovation in the plant-based food industry is rapidly evolving. Cell-cultured meat may soon be the norm in the next 20 years and some startups are going public with their ideas for innovations such as cell-cultured chicken fat. The options for plant-based alternatives are also diversifying. For example, plant-based eggs sales grew by 167.8% between 2019 and 2020, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). Additionally, sales for plant-based sauces and dips grew 83.4% over the same one-year period.
3. They draw in more customers
Customers are searching for a variety of options in food choices, especially as some are moving towards a more flexitarian diet — a primarily vegetarian diet with occasional meat consumption. In fact, almost one-third of Americans decreased the amount of meat and dairy they consumed in 2021, the PBFA found.
Additionally, younger generations are leading the charge in prioritizing plant-based diets. In a PBFA survey, 79% of Gen Z respondents reported eating plant-based meals at least one to two times a week. What’s more, 22% of millennial respondents said they adopted a plant-based diet at least once in their lives, compared with 13% of Gen X respondents and 11% of baby boomers. Providing plant-based products opens up opportunities for restaurants and grocery stores to usher in a new, younger customer base.
4. They give customers peace of mind Your foodservice business can provide customers peace of mind when dining at your establishment by receiving plant-based certification, which confirms that your food is free from animal-derived ingredients. You can apply to receive a Certified Plant Based seal from the PBFA that will inform your customers that your plant-based foods are independently verified by NSF International and are free from all animal products. This will help draw in plant-based diners and build trust with all your customers, regardless of their dietary preferences.