Quick service restaurants (QSR) are gaining popularity due to their fast service and tempting menus. As QSRs offer a variety of fast food from burgers to sandwiches, consumers prefer the same. In recent years, the growing awareness of the consumption of plant-based foods is reshaping the QSR industry. This led to QSRs introducing and launching a line of plant-based or vegan foods.
A report by MedAlertHelp indicates that 79 million people are vegan worldwide. The growing trend of consumers eating plant-based foods away from home is also changing the menu cards of QSRs around the world. With a multitude of herbal recipes already existing in different parts of the world, marketing them has become easier. Plant-based burgers play a pivotal role in changing the face of QSRs and making them more vegan. According to Future Market Insights, the plant-based burger market is expected to register a staggering double-digit CAGR of 22% by the end of 2030.
QSRs not only offer plant-based food products, but also allow consumers to customize their orders by adding cheese and vegetables of their choice. This has led consumers to invest in plant-based fast food because they can make their own favorite pizzas and customize their drinks. Future Market Insights event on veganism indicates that the global vegan consumer base is expected to grow by 44% over the next five years. Thus, QSRs focus on providing a fulfilling personal experience to appeal to the flexitarian population as well.
Popular fast food outlets such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC and Burger King are launching various plant-based food products. These QSRs are taking initiatives to experiment and understand consumers’ penchant for plant-based fast food. This, in turn, will help various QSRs innovate with different ingredients and offer a wide variety of plant-based food products.
So, in the blog, we discuss how QSRs offer and expand their portfolio to include plant-based food products.
Burger King’s All-Vegan Menu
A report by Future Market Insights states that the plant-based nuggets market is expected to register a CAGR of 26% by the end of 2030. The demand for cheese nuggets along with other plant-based food products such as sausages, hot dogs and meatballs has increased in recent years. Consumers have shown a strong propensity to invest in protein-rich, plant-based food products that deliver taste and health. Thus, the QSR launches plant-based food products that offer crunchy and salty plant-based food products. Some RSQ are experimenting and launching different herbal products to understand the taste buds of consumers. This will help QSRs expand their menu and offer a variety of plant-based food items.
For example, in March 2022, Burger King, the fast-food chain revamped its flagship restaurant in Leicester Square to be fully vegan for a trial month. The fast food restaurant is experimenting with providing vegan food to consumers and is watching the reactions closely. The vegan menu includes vegan burgers, cheeseburgers, nugget burgers, vegan ice cream and fries. With all things vegan on the go, the fast food restaurant is focused on attracting consumers by offering an all-plant-based menu. Based on the trial, Burger King will decide whether to market the business in different geographic regions. After analyzing consumer response, the fast food outlet will continuously offer meatless food products to achieve its sustainability goal.
Try, test and launch: an innovative approach to expanding the vegan portfolio
QSRs analyze consumer behavior to understand the propensity to invest in plant-based foods. So, to attract the flexitarian population at the same time as the vegan population, the QSRs are launching burgers and pizzas in a few stores. QSRs also offer a range of vegan cheese options to appeal to a wider consumer base. QSRs in the United States and Europe are completely replacing meat with vegan patties in burgers to provide a varied and distinct taste to consumers. Thus, the trial and test method should provide a better understanding of consumer needs.
For example, in March 2022, McDonald’s announced the addition of the McPlant burger to its permanent menu. The fast food restaurant conducted a successful trial in 2021 and made the decision to make the plant-based burger a permanent addition to the menu across the UK. The McPlant burger is co-developed with Beyond Meat and it took three years to develop and decide on the ingredients for this one. The burger is made with various ingredients that are entirely plant-based. For example: the cheese used in the burger is made from pea protein and the patty is made from a combination of different vegetables that make the burger crispy. This led consumers to invest heavily in the McPlant burger.
Conclusion – Vegan QSR Market
QSRs are making vegan food mainstream. The growing vegan population across the world is also changing the dynamics of QSRs. This has led QSRs to actively research and prepare vegan fast food. People are increasingly aware of the impact of their choices on the environment. Thus, consumers are actively seeking QSRs that offer vegan foods. QSRs are also tapping into the same potential and expanding their menus and sales together.
Vegan food companies and QSRs collaborate to research and prepare fast food that’s lip-smacking and tasty. In the coming years, especially in the United States and Europe, most fast food restaurants are planning to launch a full-fledged vegan menu that can meet consumer demand. Thus, these products range from high-protein drinks to solid vegan foods such as tacos and coffees.
Going forward, QSRs around the world are focused on innovating and launching vegan fast food made with local ingredients. Conscious consumers of the coming years are already committed to sustainability. Thus, the QSRs will also jump on the bandwagon to offer tasty fast food prepared from locally produced ingredients. Technology is also playing a key role in modifying the taste of vegan foods to match the crunchiness of their meat-based counterparts. The future of QSR is definitely vegan-friendly, as it not only serves a larger consumer base, but also offers great taste.