Meat dishes still a firm favourite with diners

Meat dishes still a firm favourite with diners

Meat dishes still retain the lion’s share in the out of home market despite a year-on-year increase in meat free meals.

According to research from AHDB, dishes containing meat, fish and poultry (MFP) account for the majority of spend in the out of home market, with ‘meat free meals’, including vegetarian and plant-based, only accounting for 15.1 per cent, despite a year-on-year increase of 23.1 per cent.

The majority of top dishes are still meat driven – with 97 per cent of burgers being meat or poultry based. Nearly nine in ten Asian-cuisine meals and 80 per cent of Indian-cuisine meals include MFP, highlighting its importance for driving value out of home.

And despite the increasing popularity of Veganuary, no January increase in meat free meals in the out of home market was recorded.

AHDB and Kantar analysis shows plant-based may come at a price premium – the average cost of a plant-based meal out of home is £7.49, compared with £3.76 for pork, £5.52 for beef and £5.65 for chicken. The average price of a vegetarian meal is £5.06.

Rebecca Gladman, AHDB Retail Insight Manager, said: “Amidst the cost-of-living backdrop, consumers will inevitably look for ways to save money. While vegetarian meals are competitively priced, plant-based dishes do come at a premium to pork, beef and chicken.

“Therefore, the main area of risk for the meat category in the out of home market isn’t meat alternatives, but rather dishes that are vegetarian by nature, such as cheese sandwiches and meat-free pizzas.”

One of the key differences between MFP and meat free meals in the out of home market is where they are consumed or bought. MFP meals are more likely to be bought in fast-food restaurants, whereas the popularity of vegetarian sandwiches means meat free takes a bigger share in coffee shops.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Heath said: “Within meat free, coffee shops and cafes have gained at the lunch occasion. However, people are still more likely to consume MFP for their main meal, which is typically a more expensive, bigger occasion. For MFP to maintain its importance in the out of home market, opportunities lie in further menu innovation.”

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