CivicScience | Fast Casual on the Vanguard of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

General, Hospitality

Fast Casual on the Vanguard of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Image Credit: Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

The price of meat has soared in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s beginning to have an effect on plant-based meat alternatives, with more than 1 in 6 Americans saying they’re more likely to give Impossible Burgers, Beyond Meat, and other plant-based brands a try. This is on top of the 9% of Americans who are already aboard the plant-based meat express.

Taking a bit of a deeper look — and eliminating the 9% of early adopters — it appears money is a small factor when making the plant-based meat decision, as people with household incomes under $50,000 are about 15% more likely to give faux meat a try compared to those households making over $100,000.

Women are 15% more likely than men to give plant-based meat a try.

The biggest gap? A quarter of 25- to 34-year-olds are now saying they’re willing to give plant-based meat alternatives a turn on the frying pan, which is 15% higher than Gen Z, 17% higher than 35- to 54-year-olds, and a whopping 50% higher than Americans 55+.

Dining Out

Americans who say they’re “somewhat to very likely” to try plant-based meat at a fast-casual restaurant sits at 37%. That’s a big number, and a clear call to the fast casuals of the world to up their plant-based game.

And those numbers above? They might just be the tip of the iceberg, as the more someone dines at a fast casual restaurant, the more they say they’d be apt to give plant-based meat a try.

Even looking at some hardcore burger joints – like Five Guys and In-N-Out – more than a third of consumers with favorable views of those chains would be willing to give plant burgers a go. Interestingly, the two burger palaces are right there with fans of Panera in their desire to sample a plant-based alternative.

Even more striking? Nearly half of Americans who say chain fast casual has been their pick-up to go choice during the coronavirus pandemic say they’d try plant-based meat alternatives at fast casual restaurants.

The Top Brands

Lastly, taking a quick look at two of the biggest players in the plant-based meat alternative market – Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat – Impossible Burger still maintains a decent sized favorability lead over Beyond Meat, although both brands have seen their “unfavorable” rankings tick down over the last few quarters.

Clearly, plant-based meat alternatives are here to stay, and it’s becoming increasingly clear fast casual restaurant chains might be – if they choose that path – trendsetters here. CivicScience will surely be tracking this as the year rolls on.

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