Home » Can fast-food restaurants help drive plant-based food consumption?

Can fast-food restaurants help drive plant-based food consumption?

The role of fast-food restaurants in normalizing sustainable, plant-based foods

In our busy and modern social lives, people visit fast-food restaurants worldwide. Not only do these eateries allow for ease and convenience, but they also offer the experience of ‘community’ by providing a place for friends to get together and share a tasty meal. 

With so many consumers enjoying food from fast-food venues, think of the impact that could be had if plant-based foods could be perceived as ‘normal’ in these outlets – as just another option on the menu. As something that omnivores, flexitarians, and veggies indulged in, no matter their dietary preference… 

Source: Unsplash/Nik

Plant-based food service sales would skyrocket – helping push up overall food service sales, too. The plant-based food and beverage (F&B) space is already seeing great success; worth an estimated USD 40.21 billion in 2021, the market is expected to reach USD 78.95 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 11.9%.1

Likewise, the market for plant-based meat alternatives is predicted to double within the next five years, growing from USD 7.9 billion in 2022 to USD 15.7 billion in 2025.2 By encouraging a broader audience of consumers to try their plant-based options, fast-food chains can tap into this growing potential for capital. 

Your business can safeguard the environment

But there’s not only profit to be had – with plant-based options perceived as ‘normal’ and more frequently selected by a wider variety of consumers, the environment would also be better off. This would enable fast-food chains to meet their sustainability goals and really make an impact on our Earth-in-crises.

Can fast-food restaurants help drive plant-based food consumption?
Source: Pexels/Akil Mazumder

Indeed, compared to ground beef, plant-based burgers reduce environmental impacts across every environmental category. According to studies from Impossible Foods, one plant-based Impossible Burger patty requires 87% less water and 96% less land, and produces 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and 92% less aquatic pollutants than a conventional beef burger.3 

The normalization of plant-based foods is key

Imagine if chains like McDonald’s or Burger King not only increased their plant-based offerings, but also used their huge advertising and marketing budgets to push the plant-based message… 

The resulting climate impact reductions would be remarkable, and the business gains equally as impressive.

By making plant-based dishes more visible, more attractive, and giving them marketing preference over animal-based offerings, the former would appear as ‘normal’ and more consumers would be inclined to try them (doable even if you don’t have McDonald’s’ marketing budget…).

Can fast food restaurants help drive plant-based food consumption?
Source: Unsplash/K8

Resolutely, normalizing plant-based dishes in fast-food venues is critical to driving sales and reducing the environmental impacts of animal-agriculture. But how do we do this? 

Tailored plant-based menu strategies!

Read our next article (published on August 21st) for implementable insights for your plant-based menu strategy – and learn how to future-proof your food service business.

Want to uncover which fast-food venues are leading the plant-based category globally?

Sink your teeth into ProVeg’s newly published International Fast Food Ranking Report!


  1. Vantage Market Research (2022): Plant Based Food Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report Global Industry Assessment (2016 – 2021) & Forecast (2022 – 2028). Available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/04/20/2425380/0/en/Plant-Based-Food-Market-Size-to-Grow-by-USD-78-95-Billion-Revenue-Forecast-Company-Ranking-Competitive-Landscape-Growth-Factors-And-Trends-Vantage-Market-Research.html. Accessed 2023.
  2. Markets and Markets. (2020). Plant-based Meat Market – Global Forecast to 2027. Available at: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/plant-based-meat-market-44922705.html. Accessed 2023.
  3.  Impossible Burger environmental life cycle assessment, (2019). Available at: https://impossiblefoods.com/sustainable-food/burger-life-cycle-assessment-2019. Accessed 2023-07-03.

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