Food Service

Caterer Sodexo UK&I Reports Rising Demand for Meatless Meals in Workplaces

Caterer Sodexo has reported a significant increase in demand for vegetarian and vegan dishes at workplaces in the UK and Ireland.

Data shows that from January to November 2022, 15% of meals sold in Wales and the North West of England were meatless, along with 11% in London and 10% in Scotland.

“It’s great to see that more and more customers are trying plant-based meals”

These figures vary widely between sectors, with vegetarian and vegan dishes making up 17% of sales at Health & Care sites and, surprisingly, just 5% at schools and universities. Meanwhile, Energy & Resources workplaces have seen a huge surge in demand, with meat-free dishes rising from 2% to 12% of sales.

In the Republic of Ireland, 21,000 meat-free meals were bought at Sodexo sites in 2022, increasing from 5% to 8.5% of dishes sold. The figure in Northern Ireland remained at 6%, the same as the previous year. Sales of plant-forward food were highest during the summer, though they remained strong throughout the year.

Humane Society US
Photo by Lance Murphey for HSUS

“Shift in consumer awareness”

Sodexo is actively working to increase the number of plant-based meals sold at its client sites. In 2021, the catering company announced that it wanted a third of the dishes it sold to be free of animal ingredients by 2025, in a bid to decrease carbon emissions to net zero.

In the US, Sodexo has set out similar goals, working with the Humane Society to make 42% of university menus plant-based by 2025. The company made the pledge after discovering that at least 70% of its supply carbon footprint was related to animal-based food purchases.

“Whether people are vegan, vegetarian, or just want to try something new, it’s great to see that more and more customers are trying plant-based meals across our sites. This really demonstrates a shift in consumer awareness, a wider range of options, and a marketplace responding,” said Claire Atkins Morris, director of corporate responsibility at Sodexo.

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