Vegetarians demand more variety on menus, says new research

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New research has revealed that over half of consumers feel there are not enough vegetarian dishes on menus when they eat out, meaning that boutique hotels need to better cater for this market in order to retain their custom.

The results, commissioned by Vegetarian Express, highlighted that a third of those questioned want to see between five and ten options available on menus.

The latest research also revealed that of the 26% of consumers choosing not to eat meat, 14% do so because they are vegetarian, while a similar number (12%) consider themselves to be ‘flexitarian’ – demonstrating that it’s not only strict vegetarians driving the market, but meat-reducers seeking out a way to eat a more balanced diet.

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Caterers do, however, have plenty of scope to introduce more vegetarian options across all sections of the menu with the greatest demand being for more mains (69%) followed by starters (35%). A surprising 16% said they would like to see the offering extended to the children’s menu, while 12% would like to see more vegetarian bar snacks.

Meanwhile, a huge 71% of customers would like to see lighter vegetarian options, while 17% think there should be more breakfast options available. Interestingly, Christmas is cited as a key time to capture more of the market with 23% of respondents saying they would like to see additional vegetarian options offered during the festive period.

Commenting on the findings, Will Matier, managing director at Vegetarian Express, says: “There’s no doubt about it, the vegetarian market is growing. You just have to look at the number of dedicated vegetarian restaurants opening up on the high street to see evidence of that.

“If caterers are to compete, they must offer more choice, not just in terms of the number of dishes but also the quality of food.

Vegetarians want more than just one or two bog standard dishes to choose between – menus need to reflect this with innovative new recipes, exciting flavours and interesting ingredients. After all, vegetarians deserve the same eating out experience as everyone else.”

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