Meat-free additions to menus over the last year were most common at pubs and casual restaurants.
This was attributed to the rise of “flexitarianism” amongst consumers – eating meat but considerably less often than the average carnivore.
Beef dishes saw a significant drop in popularity, with only 8% of new menu items incorporating the meat in contrast to 18% last year.
Peter Linden, senior analyst at M&C Allegra Foodservice, said: “The healthier eating megatrend plays a key role, as operators expect consumers to embrace vegetarian dishes as healthier options.”
He added: “The drop in beef's share of new additions was also influenced by the large amount of burgers that operators added to their menus over 2014.
“Our recent industry research shows that industry experts agree vegetarian dishes will claim a larger part of menus in 2-3 years. This will be driven by dietary requirements and lifestyle choices. Beef may see its presence on menus reduce slightly after the American BBQ and burger trends start to slow down.”
Main dishes also lost share to starters over the last year, accounting for 49% of new menu items compared to 63% last year whilst starters accounted for 23%, up from 17%.
For more info on M&C Allegra Foodservice’s New Menu Item Analysis, contact Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent research by the NPD Group reported that London residents were twice as likely to be motivated to eat out by the desire for a light or healthy meal than the rest of the UK.
Vegetarian consumers were also found to be unimpressed by a lack of vegetarian options on Christmas menus.