The Plant-Based Market: The Future of Foodservice

Plant-based foods, and the consumers who prefer them, represent a significant opportunity for the foodservice industry. Restaurants certainly have that idea on their radar, but there’s often a lack of clarity about what to do with this revenue opportunity. When asked, we’ve heard some frustration from foodservice executives who are saying:

  • Limited access to the same old concept of heavily processed meat alternative options isn’t good enough – and they don’t really want to associate their brand with heavily processed products being used by less discerning restaurateurs.

  • Because they can’t satisfy their pickier diners with standard options that are good enough for everyone, the plant-based part of their menu isn’t doing nearly as much for the business as it could or should.

  • They aren’t aware of any real alternatives for a specialty plant protein that meets their standards.  Custom products are restrictive and carry greater overhead.  They don’t know where to turn other than making them in-house, and that’s often too labor-intensive and expensive.

To realize the full potential of the plant-based market for restaurants and foodservice operations, it’s essential to focus on a plant-based menu strategy from a high-level.

A Plant-Based Vision

Focus on what plant-based foods represent and the benefits with which they’re associated in the consumer’s mind:

  • Plant-based protein is well known to be more sustainable than animal meat in terms of environmental impacts. Industry data shows that diners are very interested in restaurant sustainability practices.

  • Consumers connect vegan foods with benefits to their own health. Specifically, plant-based foods are perceived as cleaner, and many products can be free of allergens. “Awareness of the term is growing. And though just 6 percent of Americans eat vegetarian, according to Nielsen, almost 40 percent now make an effort to eat more plant-based foods.”

  • Local ingredients align with consumer values, including environmental consciousness and support for the community. For the last 7 years, the National Restaurant Association's annual leading trends have consistently included local and special ingredients, and more recently plant-based options.

Now, go to 30,000 feet and take a look at the big picture.
All of those consumers’ wants and needs, combined into one market, can add up to huge business potential. With the right menu offering, the restaurant industry can appeal to the discerning, health-conscious diner who is any of these:

  • vegan
  • plant-based
  • allergen-conscious
  • locavore
  • foodie
  • whole-food focused
  • athlete

At Local Alternative Foods, we’ve crunched the data. Using the accepted $6B forecast for meat substitutes, we can come up with a real-world number for the value of this market. US foodservice is responsible for roughly ¼ of the usage.  We average that the center of plate is 66% of the plated food cost, and that cost is 30% of the plated price. Taking that $1.5B in meat substitute spending rolls up to $7.5B in US foodservice food sales.

Our unique experience from selling exclusively real whole food offers data that essentially doubles the size of this opportunity. We’ve learned that for every person who is willing to eat a meat substitute that is made from heavily processed ingredients and chemicals, there is one committed plant-based eater who is not.

That’s our very good reason for creating NexVeg™ – the center-of-the-plate plant-based protein that serves most all-defined customer needs.

The pursuit of consumers defined by a single dietary preference represents a challenge for return on investment. The concept of NexVeg is one of strategically aggregating the opportunity. NexVeg is plant-based, whole-food, allergen-free, and made of premium local ingredients, performance focused proteins and sauces that offer luscious elements without compromising ingredient quality. It’s the exclusively clean brand, using only meaningful whole-food, plant-pure ingredients, optional pure oils, and natural and wood-smoked spices.

NexVeg is created for high-volume foodservice. It’s designed to be as easy to cook as ground beef.  Small-batch production translates to on-demand accessibility, freshness, and customization, and branding opportunities for your menu. NexVeg is delivered raw & ready-to-use. It cooks faster than frozen veggie burgers.  Can be shipped in patties or bulk containing 220 portions per cubic foot.

Transforming Menus

Local Alternative Foods offers a turnkey solution for generating new plant-based revenue streams – delivering meaningful gross revenue increases through implementing effective plant-based menu strategy for foodservice establishments. NexVeg products on the menu bring new plant-based market share and revenue in the door. Statistics are validating that with dining out finally on the rise these products are additive – they typically don’t eat into the sales from other established menu items.

Local Alternative Foods developed our house-brand NexVeg to comprehensively address a real need in foodservice and the US food economy for top-shelf, sustainable and accessible plant-based menu options. If you want to learn more about how you can add plant-based options to your menu, we invite you to schedule a custom tasting and meet with our team.

Request Your Customized Tasting

If you’re a consumer looking to try NexVeg, check out some of the restaurants and home delivery options available to you.

Back to Blog


Let Local Alternative Foods help turn your plant-based ambitions into real revenue.

Contact Us
Search the Blog

Related Articles

How to Differentiate Your Menu Using Whole Plant-Based Foods

  Healthy and sustainable food means a lot more than raw carrots and celery these days. “Eating...

Old Town Scottsdale Restaurants Now Serving NexVeg Plant-Based Protein

We're excited to announce these 4 restaurants in Old-Town Scottsdale have begun serving NexVeg, a...

Choosing the Best Plant-Based Burger for Your Restaurant’s Menu

In our fast-food, quick-serve world, the burger reigns supreme. Dressed up with basic or elaborate...