Plant-Based Food is Declared 2018’s Top Dining Trend

International food and restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman have announced plant-based dining as the number one dining trend for 2018.

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Baum & Whiteman creates high-profile restaurants around the world including the world’s first food courts, so we can rely on their understanding of what’s popular, and happily they’ve announced that plant-based food is 2018’s top dining trend!

Vegan dining experiences have been highlighted as a mega-trend, with a rapid consumer move to plant-based foods.

The announcement is based on their own observations as well as some solid industry trends found by Mintel:

  • 31% of Americans choose to have meat-free days.
  • 35% of Americans get most of their protein from sources other than red meat.
  • 66% of people who eat non-meat protein believe these are healthier than red meat.
  • 83% of US consumers are adding plant-based foods to their diets to improve their health.
  • 62% are adding plant-based foods to their diets to help with weight management.
  • 257% more products promoted themselves as vegan in 2016 than in 2012.
  • 58% of US adults drink non-dairy milk.

Baum and Whiteman’s observations highlight that the plant-based approach to dining is being embraced by younger consumers, who are likely to stick with these eating habits for a lifetime.

According to NPD Group, young consumers aged 40 and under have increased their fresh vegetable intake by 52 percent, showing a real surge in young people’s plant-powered eating.

A Cruelty-Free Future?

We’re seeing some large US companies jumping on this opportunity for growth by acquiring smaller, plant-based companies.

For example, Nestlé USA acquired the plant-based company Sweet Earth and Danone has acquired WhiteWave. Food producers are also working with scientists to make meat more acceptable by growing it from cells instead of getting it from animals.

Let’s hope we see more restaurants offering vegan cheese alternatives on pizzas, tasty meat-free burgers and vegan-friendly desserts. No more customising standard menu items by leaving out the sauce, the cheese… and everything that’s not salad.

Baum & Whiteman also predict a rise in companies offering more plant-based food options to their employees – following in the footsteps of major players Panera Bread, Hilton Hotels, Stanford University, Unilever, Sodexo and Google.

Google, which saw a 90% increase in vegan searches in 2016, is a great example of a major company trying to help reduce meat consumption. The company is creating ‘plant-forward’ choices on its menus, attempting to change employee eating habits in its plentiful dining areas by putting veggie items at the top of menus.

This is a trend that’s spreading across the globe – and one that’s here to stay!

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