Plant-based burgers are becoming a staple on the menus of quick service restaurant menus in the US and customers are responding. Customers ordered 228 million vegan burgers at quick-service restaurants in the year ending May, an increase of 10% from the previous year, according to The NPD Group.
NPD stated that the strong growth of the category is primarily due to increased availability of options such as the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger at a slew of fast food chains across the USA. Consumers of beef burgers purchased the sandwiches on an average of 18 times in the year ending April 2019, trying out plant-options on average two times in the period. This means that roughly 95% of plant-based buyers have made a beef burger purchase within the past year.
According to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracker, vegans and vegetarians represent a small (single digit) percentage of the U.S. population and are not a primary consumer group, however 18% of omnivores / flexitarians are aiming to consume more plant-based foods. The popularity of plant-based foods is being fueled by the desire to obtain more protein, concerns for animal welfare, sustainability, and the interest in healthier nutrition.
“Plant-based burgers allow consumers to substitute without sacrifice. They get the ‘burger’ experience while assuaging their need for more protein and social concerns,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “With that said, U.S. consumers have not given up on beef burgers but are willing to mix things up every now and then.”