How Restaurants Can Make Meatless Mondays a Strategy for Growth
The transferal of information in the digital age has meant more people than ever before have access to a world of knowledge, telling us everything we could want to know about the surface of Mars to the future of our own planet. Never has a generation come of age with so much awareness of the effects that their lifestyle can have on the environment. This interest in sustainable living, organic produce, and the recycling of resources that won’t harm the environment, is what has driven once niche food trends into the mainstream – and the meat-free diet is the latest to have consolidated its place within the public consciousness.
Restaurants all over the world have begun to meet the demand for sustainable produce, with many fast food chains offering meat-free products and taking them into the same league as the Big Mac and the KFC bargain bucket. Beside this, the last two decades have observed the emergence of the Meatless Monday movement, in which diners are encouraged to substitute their beef or poultry products with a meatless substitute on the first day of the working week. Known as Meat-Free Monday in the UK, as founded by former Beatle Paul McCartney and his two daughters, the American variant known as Meatless Monday follows the same principle – and represents an outstanding business opportunity.
Demonstrating to the customer that you care
A key component for nurturing brand loyalty among your consumer base is to show them the value of your product, and why it matters that they are supporting you. Simply put, a customer is much more willing to keep coming back to something if they know their money is being well invested, so making it known that they are helping to reduce the effects of global warming is a great place to start. With livestock demonstrating some of the food industry’s most damaging impacts on the environment – 15 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions is produced by cattle – there are numerous other environmental impacts from the production of meat products.
Primarily, the scale of land clearance involved in rearing cattle is immense, as is the amount of water needed to provide the grass for these cows to feed on; not to mention the amount of food needed to feed that cattle. In perhaps one of the most energy-inefficient processes within the food industry, livestock will need 100 calories of plant- or seed-based products in order to provide just 10 calories of meat product. Shifting to meatless meats will drastically cut down on the volume of carbon emissions being produced as well as save on enormous amounts of food that could be channeled toward combatting world hunger.
One of the most popular products to have found its way onto fast food menus all over the world is the Impossible burger patty, which is something of a culinary revolution. Needing almost 90% less water and 96% less land than an equivalent beef-based burger, offering similar products on your Meatless Monday menu is a fantastic opportunity to prove to your customers that you are investing in the future – and that they should be investing in you, too.
Entice a new demographic
Every major fast food outlet from Burger King to Subway now has at least one meat-free product on their menu, so if your business is going to be able compete with some of the biggest names in the food industry, you’ll need to adapt to the times. You don’t need a million followers on TikTok to get your restaurant noticed, you just need to cater to a wider variety of tastes. Adopting the Meatless Monday model for your restaurant doesn’t mean you need to become an exclusively vegan or vegetarian enterprise – since its inception in 2003, this food-consciousness movement has been adopted in over 40 countries, even though many of the customers who support it aren’t strictly against meat products. In fact, in the US alone, over 85% of consumers who commonly purchase plant-based substitutes such as almond milk and nut burgers do so for the dietary variety they enjoy as a result.
Some of the most visible proponents of organic food are those of the millennial generation, individuals born between 1981 and 1996, whose population exceeds 80,000,000 in the US alone. They also have considerable purchasing power behind them, with the market value of this demographic estimated in the region of $200 million - and a substantial portion of that goes into what they eat. Millennials are statistically much more likely to eat out than their Boomer predecessors, as they reportedly prefer the accumulation of experiences and memories than the acquisition of material goods. And with 73% of millennials worldwide willing to pay a higher premium for the items on their menu if they see it has been made with organic produce, it certainly pays to get some greener produce on their plates.
Millennials are set to become the next generation of leaders and changemakers in the years ahead, and it is their eventual inheritance of the future that has led so many of them to nurture an interest in an eco-conscious diet. If you want to appeal to their better nature, and tap into their attached spending power, it will surely benefit your business to entice this demographic of forward-thinking consumers.
The saying goes that the proof is in the pudding, so for our purposes let’s say that the business is in the (meatless) burgers: between 2017 and 2019, sales of plant-based products in US restaurants and hospitality establishments rose from just under $119 million to just over $190 million.
At Buffalo Market, we’re investing in the future, too. All of our produce comes direct from organic, independent farmers in California, and spends as little time in warehouses as possible. We operate on the farm-to-fork principal that keeps the distance between producer and consumer as short as possible, delivering fresh and delivering local. Out inventory of more than 2,600 market-quality items ensures that no matter how big or small your kitchen is, from the coziest of homes to the busiest of restaurants, it will be well stocked with premium products.
If you’re keen to go meat-free this Monday, why not take a look at the range of meat-free products we have on sale today. You’ll hardly notice the difference from a regular beef burger, but the earth will definitely thank you for it.