March 23, 2022

Impact Of Plant-Based Meat On Restaurants & Food Industries

Growth of plant-based (vegan) meat industry and its impact on the restaurant and food world. Learn why vegan meat is considered the food of the future.

How And Why Vegan Plant-Based Meat Is Taking Over The Restaurant/Food World

Veganism is a way of living in which people avoid all forms of animal exploitation. Recently, it has gone mainstream.

Over the last decade, the UK has witnessed an increase of 350% of people following a vegan diet. The more significant shift is seen in the younger generation, especially millennials and Generation Z.

Several reasons drive people to choose veganism as a way of life, such as its health benefits or turning towards sustainable eating.

A global switch to veganism will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, save up to 8 million lives, and reduce climate-related damages by $1.5 trillion by 2050.

In this guide, you will first understand who is considered a vegan, why people follow veganism, the growth of plant-based meat, and the impact of the acceptance of plant-based meat on the restaurant and food world.

Let’s start!

Who Is Considered a Vegan?

A vegan is a person who neither consumes the flesh of any animal nor any product derived from them, such as dairy products, honey, and eggs.

Moreover, a vegan even avoids any products that directly or indirectly involves the human use of animals, such as silk, wool, leather items, and other animal products.

A vegan diet primarily has fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, whole grains, legumes, soy products, such as soya milk and soya bean, and other plant-based products.

Why Veganism? Top Reasons Why People Go Vegan

People are becoming more and more concerned about personal health and the future of
the planet.

Significantly, the young generation is worried about the world’s problems and willing to be a part of the change. They are talking about issues related to climatic changes and the human exploitation of animals.

Besides, plant-based meat is being consumed as a substitute by the non-vegetarian people who are shifting into a vegan diet.

Here are the top reasons why people are avoiding animal meat and shifting to plant based-meat products:

1- Animal Welfare

The sensitivity and emotion towards animals have made many shifts to veganism. Vegans believe all sentient creatures have a right to life, and killing to eat is wrong. Livestock animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, also feel love, happiness, loneliness, and fear like people do.

Ever wondered how many animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption?

In the UK alone, here are the number of animals that are killed for food:

  • 2.8 million cattle
  • 10.6 million pigs
  • 14.9 million sheep and lambs
  • 80 million fish, and
  • 1.1 billion birds


Vegan societies are against these animal exploitations and cruelty. The way the livestock are kept in farms and later slaughtered for food is very inhumane.

Humans do not only need animal flesh, milk, or eggs to live a healthy life. There are many other healthier substitutes.

Thus, vegans refuse to pay for the animal products to reduce their demands leading to fewer animals being bred to suffer and die on farms and slaughterhouses.

2- Personal Health

Consuming plant-based protein does not have harmful health effects like animal-derived protein.

Here are some of the health benefits of following a vegan diet are:

  • Lowers Risk Of Heart Diseases – Saturated fat leads to an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease and stroke. Animal products such as butter, hard cheese, cream, sausages, and fatty cuts of meat are rich in saturated fat, thus harmful for our health. Thus, avoiding these foods and following a high-fibre vegan diet of fruits and vegetables help in maintaining cholesterol levels in our body, lowering the risk of heart diseases.
  • Lowers The Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes – People who eat vegan tend to have lower blood sugar levels than non-vegans. It can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 78%. Since a vegan diet is rich in fibre and low in saturated fat, unlike meat-based food like fatty cuts of beef or processed sausages, it encourages a reduction in insulin production, thus lowering the risk of type-2 diabetes.
  • Protects Against Certain Cancers – Diet has a crucial role in certain cancers. Soy milk is an excellent vegan alternative to cow’s milk. It is naturally lactose-free and low in cholesterol which helps in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Women with breast cancer, who consume 11g of soy protein each day, can reduce their mortality and risk of recurrence by 30%. Consuming lots of red meats, such as beef, lamb, and pork, could cause colorectal cancer. Thus, eating plant-based meat instead will help reduce the chances of getting it.


  • Helps In Weight Loss – Meats and dairy products are high in fats and calories, which tend to increase weight. Thus, cutting out these foods and following a vegan diet of fruits and vegetables, low calories, and fats helps lose weight.
  • Reduces The Pain Of Arthritis – Eating animal-derived foods is linked to pain-causing inflammation. Consuming probiotic plant-based foods such as fermented vegetables and non-dairy yoghurts with live cultures can boost the good bacteria in the large intestine. It also helps boost nutrient absorption and reduce inflammation.

3- Environment Protection And Climate Change

The United Nations’ 2021 report on climate change issued a “code red” for all of humanity: the climate crisis is playing out in real-time, and, if we don’t act soon, frequent natural disasters and rising ocean levels will put millions of people in immediate danger.

The UN identifies plant-based diets “as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change”.

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Some of the benefits of following a vegan diet on the environment are as follows:

  • Reduction In Greenhouse Gas Emission – The emission of Greenhouse gases is responsible for climatic changes. The climatic changes will lead to frequent forest fires, stronger hurricanes, higher rises in sea level due to melting of sea ice, more drought, and heatwaves. The primary greenhouse gases are Carbon dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous oxide. Overall, the process of raising and killing animals for meat is much more carbon-intensive than just growing and harvesting plants for food. Animal agriculture produces over 14% of greenhouse gases. Studies show that adopting a vegan diet can cut agricultural greenhouse gases in half. There will be a 70% reduction of food-related CO2 emission if the current meat-eating population becomes vegan. If more and more individuals adopt a plant-based diet, it will create a massive shift in our food system, reducing our whole species’ greenhouse gas emissions and helping slow climate change.


  • Stopping Livestock Emissions – A report by the UN Environment Programme, Methane is 80 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. It has accounted for up to 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times. The same report shows that 32% of human-caused methane production comes from livestock digestion and waste. Thus, shifting to a plant-based vegan diet will significantly reduce methane production.
  • Removing Nitrous Oxide – When animal waste is broken down, it produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2 in its warming effect. It constitutes 65% of all nitrous oxide emissions in the world.
  • Conserving Water- Water is essential for the survival of any spies. When we consume fresh water at a faster rate than its supply can naturally replenish, we risk disrupting the water cycle, which could lead to long periods of drought and global water shortages. Globally, over 28% of freshwater is used in the meat and dairy production industries. Thus, following a vegan diet will help conserve freshwater for future generations.
  • Balancing Ocean Ecosystem – Veganism balances the ocean ecosystem to reduce the increasing demand for fish. Thus, the complex food chain system of the ocean will be balanced.
  • Protecting Soil – Deforestation for animal farming leads to the deterioration of the soil. Cattle-grazing and feed production erodes nutrient-rich topsoil, and over-cultivation of soy and corn as animal feed makes the soil unsuited for plants to grow. Thus, switching to plant-based meat allows the soil to heal.

The vegan movement can spread further and faster with the onset of the social media age. More people are getting aware of this movement and getting connected with it.

Social media influencers and celebrities also play a crucial role in promoting veganism. High-profile and celebrity vegans show young people that it’s possible to be successful and look and feel amazing without consuming meat and dairy.

Thus, we have studied all personal health, ethical and environmental issues that have contributed to the increase of plant-based alternative consumption in the food market.

Growth Of Plant-Based Foods

Here are the statistics that show the growth of plant-based foods:

  • The global market of plant-based foods will witness a fivefold growth by 2030. It will constitute 7.9% of the worldwide protein market. Sales of plant-based dairy and meat products reached $29.4 billion in 2020 and could increase to $162 billion by 2030.
  • Plant-based milk was most popular among the UK population among all plant-based alternative foods. Approximately 1 in 13 people reported consuming plant-based dairy in 2018 and 2019 compared to 2.3% in 2008-2011.
  • The meat-substitutes category in the UK was valued at US$713 million in 2021 in retail and is expected to reach $1.01bn by 2026. The UK meat-substitutes market grew at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% in the five years from 2013-2018 to reach $592.3 million, but growth eased to 4.9% by 2020. But, in 2021, it had quickened to 7.3% and is expected to maintain that momentum to 2026 based on a five-year CAGR.


  • Around 79 million people worldwide are vegan. The number of people adopting plant-based foods is growing constantly and is predicted to reach 1 in 10 people in the next decade.

Impact Of Plant-Based Meat On Restaurant & Food World

The demand for plant-based meat is impacting the food industry. The restaurants are pressured to add plant-based alternatives to their menus for catering to the ongoing demand. These impacts will reshape the food industry in the next few years.

Adopting plant-based items in their menus will give an opportunity to the restaurants to fructify from the growing interest in plant-based meat. In addition, it will be challenging for the chefs and owners to add these items as they do not have prior experience with plant-based foods.

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Further, differences in texture, taste and cooking properties of meat and dairy alternatives can be an additional challenge for the chefs. Recreating real meat or dairy-based dishes with plant-based alternatives will be a challenge that needs proper time to research and experiment on them.

In recent years, new products and restaurants have emerged in the UK. These restaurants target consumers that prefer alternative proteins.

Some of these restaurants are:

Here are the statistics showing the impact of plant-based meat:

Final Thoughts

No doubt, vegan plant-based meat is taking over the restaurant and food world. However, cost and scale are essential factors that need to be considered by the manufacturers and restaurants to move these products from novelty purchases to kitchen staples.

In the coming years, there will be a cost reduction of lab-grown meat. Also, continuous advancements in genetic engineering and plant-based innovation will improve meatless products’ taste, flavour, and healthiness.

Finally, the primary role will be played by companies competing against each other to get their products to market first and best position their products as worth the price.

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