It’s flexitarians, not vegetarians or vegans, who are dipping a toe into meatlessness.
According to a new study by market research firm the NPD Group, plant-based burger sales were up 10% from last year to hit 228 million orders. But that wasn’t because vegetarians and vegans were flocking to quick-service restaurants—instead, the availability of the option piqued the curiosity of regular beef-buying consumers.
Food Business News notes that during the year ending April 2019, buyers made an average of 18 beef burger purchases and two plant-based burger purchases—in other words, 95% of plant-based buyers have made a beef purchase within the last year.
“Plant-based burgers allow consumers to substitute without sacrifice,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage analyst at the NPD Group. “They get the ‘burger’ experience while assuaging their need for more protein and social concerns. With that said, U.S. consumers have not given up on beef burgers but are willing to mix things up every now and them.”