Though a minority of consumers (15%) follow a diet that restricts their consumption of animal products — such as pescatarianism, vegetarianism or veganism — more than half (59%) of consumers eat meals without meat at least weekly. Health concerns are largely driving consumers to eat seafood and vegetarian dishes, presenting an opportunity that operators and suppliers can leverage to drive traffic and grow sales. However, to broaden appeal, restaurants must overcome preconceptions regarding these dishes, which might otherwise deter consumers.

“Menu innovation and messaging that address consumers’ taste and value concerns for seafood and vegetarian dishes will be particularly vital to driving purchases of these dishes,” says Anne Mills, manager of consumer insights. “For example, providing ethnic or bold flavors can help spark interest for seafood dishes and describing applicable vegetarian dishes as plant-based may help drive purchase.” 

Key takeaways from the report include:

• 41% of consumers report eating more vegetables now than a year ago
• During occasions when they eat vegetarian or vegan dishes, consumers specifically seek out these items 34% of the time, on average
• Half of consumers who eat seafood at least monthly (51%) would like more restaurants to offer a wider variety of seafood dishes