AHDB research has shown that dishes containing meat, fish and poultry are still consumer favourites in the out of home market, despite growth of the meat-free meal sales.
Vegetarian and plant-based meals only account for 15.1% of spending in the out of home market, despite a 23.,1% year-on-year increase.
Meat-based meals are retaining the top spot, with 97% of burgers being meat or poultry-based, 90% of Asian-cuisine and 80% of Indian-cuisine containing meat, fish or poultry (MFP). Despite the increasing popularity of Veganuary, there was no increase in meat free meals in the out of home market during January.
AHDB and Kantar analysis shows plant-based can be costly – the average cost of a plant-based meal out of home is £7.49, compared with £3.76 for pork, £5.52 for beef and £5.65 for chicken. The average price of a vegetarian meal is £5.06.
AHDB Retail Insight Manager, Rebecca Gladman, said: “Amidst the cost-of-living backdrop, consumers will inevitably look for ways to save money. While vegetarian meals are competitively priced, plant-based dishes do come at a premium to pork, beef and chicken.
“Therefore, the main area of risk for the meat category in the out of home market isn’t meat alternatives, but rather dishes that are vegetarian by nature, such as cheese sandwiches and meat-free pizzas.”
One of the key differences between MFP and meat free meals in the out of home market is where they are consumed or bought. MFP meals are more likely to be bought in fast-food restaurants, whereas the popularity of vegetarian sandwiches means meat free takes a bigger share in coffee shops.
AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager, Kim Heath, said: “Within meat free, coffee shops and cafes have gained at the lunch occasion. However, people are still more likely to consume MFP for their main meal, which is typically a more expensive, bigger occasion. For MFP to maintain its importance in the out of home market, opportunities lie in further menu innovation.”