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Top 5 reasons why the leisure and hospitality industry needs vegan meat alternatives in their menus.

In our last blog post we introduced our readers to the concept of wellness tourism and showed what type of health and wellness products are trending in the leisure and hospitality tourism successfully this year. This week we want to have a look at a different type of products that are gaining popularity in this sector in part thanks to wellness tourism and in part due to the global trend of veganism. Assuming you’ve read the title, it won’t surprise you that we’re obviously talking about vegan meat alternatives!

Two weeks ago we had a look at the types of meat alternatives available on the market that would fit well into the leisure market, today we will have a look at the same issue from the perspective of companies looking to sell those alternatives and we will assess the opportunity lying within this sector!

The recent Allied Market Research report found that the global meat substitute market is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026, while growing at the rate of 7.8%. While most of that growth will be obviously accounted for by the retail market, we believe that the sales to the leisure and hospitality market will be an important factor in propagating the growth. The same people that shop for vegan meat alternatives on a day to day basis, go on holidays to hotels, holiday parks and resorts and they look for their prefered products in the menus of those venues! Whether it’s ‘meat’ made from tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, seitan, Quorn, or other plant-based sources, let’s see why they’re great products for the leisure and hospitality businesses.


Growth of veganism

One of the biggest reasons leisure and hospitality businesses should and are looking for meat alternatives is the rise of veganism in the past 5 years. The search interest for the word ‘vegan’ is at an all time high, the word searches increased by 233.33% compared to 2005 and the UK is in the top 3 countries looking for this term. According to, orders of vegan meals grew 388% between 2016 and 2018 and they are now the UK’s fastest growing takeaway choice. 

But how do those numbers translate into real people? Well in 2019 there were 600,000 self declared vegans in the UK, which is four times as much as in 2014. An average Briton takes 3 holidays a year and 2 of them are most likely to be in the country, that means 1.2million vegan holidays a year. And that is not counting the people that eat vegan products that are not necessarily vegan…

 Pitta bread full of vegetables and vegan meat alternatives


Diversity of diets

With all the numbers we brought up above it is not a big surprise that more people hear about vegan options and want to diversify their diets without necessarily going vegan. Moreover, according to Waitrose every one in three people is reducing meat consumption, and it is definitely reflected in sales numbers as meat substitute sales in Europe grew by 451% in 5 years to 2018. It is foolish to think that resorts, holiday parks, attractions and other leisure and tourism businesses are not aware of this opportunity in the market.

It is especially important as people are more likely to try new things while on holiday, so people that wouldn’t normally consider meat alternatives can feel more adventurous while eating at the holiday park’s restaurant. But those plant-based products are also perfect for the guests that might not necessarily be vegan, but do care about their health and wellbeing.

 A table full of diverse food options with vegan meat alternatives in the meals.

Wellness tourism

In the previously mentioned article we defined wellness tourism as the act of travelling for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. People who participate in such travels often opt for healthier diets while holidaying to aid their wellness goals which makes them a perfect market for plant based meat alternatives.They’re likely to already be familiar with vegan options and because their primary purpose of visiting a certain holiday park, spa or hotel is wellness they’re more likely to stick to plant based foods for health benefits.

In terms of numbers, wellness tourism is a sector that was worth $639 billion in 2017 worldwide and is projected to reach $919 billion by 2022. These holiday makers are also more likely to spend 178% more than other tourists, so those beetroot stakes better be worth coming back for!

 A burger with a vegan meat substitute


Environmental consciousness

Veganism and vegan products in our society have been strongly linked with the discussion about environmental issues and it certainly encourages many people to consider twice what they’re ordering while eating out. It is not a surprise that water footprint, animal cruelty, co2 footprint and many other things occupy the minds of environmentaly-conscious consumers and vegan meat alternatives are offten perceived as the answer to their concerns. This is perhaps to a certain degree responsible for the decrease in meat consumption that Waitrose discovered in the article we mentioned in the previous segment. 

Interestingly, tourists that feel strongly about the environmental issues are very likely to choose holidaying in the country as opposed to international travel due to the high environmental impact of flying. It is even more important as holiday parks, resort hotels and caravan parks are notoriously at the forefront of environmental tourism, investing in the environment protection and local communities across the country. Due to the environmentally friendly branding of many of those sites vegan meat alternatives are a must-have on their menu.

 Forest representing the environmental concerns of holiday park and resort customers that are likely to buy vegan meat alternatives


For all those reasons it is quite clear that the plant based meat alternatives have a huge potential market in the leisure and hospitality industry. Whether it’s a holiday park restaurant, spa canteen or take away at a visitor attraction they all require vegan and vegetarian options to satisfy customers with different types of motivations.

If you’re looking to market your vegan meat alternatives to 18,000 decision makers from the leisure, hospitality & tourism industry, Leisure Food & Beverage Expo is the best marketing tool you can utilise. To learn more about exhibiting at the show, get in touch!

+44 (0) 117 929 6087


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