New data has been published by Caterer, a key employment provider for the restaurant trade in the UK, regarding the dietary requirements concerning British people when eating out. The results show that the restaurant trade does not appear to be maximising its financial potential, with the volumes of people looking to spend money without compromising their diets.
25% of British restaurant customers have a dietary requirement. Of that figure, 59% identify as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarians, and are increasingly looking for plant-based options on the menu. A further 30% are actively avoiding allergens, 8% are concerned with foods that meet religious requirements, and the smallest group is people looking to avoid fat or sugar.
Earlier this year, PETA stepped in to help restaurants by offering a manual entitled: ‘The PETA Guide to Introducing Vegan Options’, a guide to facilitate introducing animal-free options. This was in response this year to the sky-rocketing demand for plant-based food when eating out. At Caterer.com, adverts for vegan job roles increased by a whopping 123% last year, with an additional 300 jobs advertised across the UK.
With The Economist and Forbes naming 2019 the year of the vegan, these numbers look set to keep increasing. And is the restaurant trade keeping up? Certainly, changes have been occurring but the people surveyed for this report state that it’s not enough, and these are the people who are spending the most money in this sector.
The report goes on to state that the 25% of people with dietary needs are likely to be under 35, live in an urban area or have an income of £50,000 or more. They spend more on an average meal out than people without dietary requirements. 80% eat out at least once a month and 60% would go out at least once more if restaurants went the extra mile for them. And encouragingly the figures show that these requirements are not a fad, of the 25%, 47% have eaten this way for 10 years or more and 37% for 2 to 10 years.
If restaurants can fulfil the demands of people with dietary requirements, the benefits could be huge. Currently, revenue of UK restaurants is at £40bn but it is estimated that there is a further £9bn in potential revenue gains for this sector.