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Nestle Professional® launches report into consumer attitudes towards the UK dining out sector

Over half (51%) of diners would like more meat-free options when eating out and over seven in ten (71%) would like more healthy options according to a new survey from Nestlé Professional®[1].

The report, Balancing Plates: Navigating consumer dining demands in 2020 surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK also found that the majority (58%) struggle to maintain a healthy diet when eating out of home and over seven in ten would like more nutritional information on menus, with 71% asking for more dietary data. The report comes as Nestlé Professional® launches its plant-based product range, Garden Gourmet®, to the out of home market.

Consumers are also conscious of the sustainability of the food they eat out, with 55% of those surveyed preferring restaurants with better eco-credentials. A third (28%) have also been deterred from returning to a restaurant due to concerns about sustainability.

The report lifts the lid on the dining out sector and provides innovative expert insights on how to balance the demands of profit and sustainability, the rise of plant-based food and flexible menus, and how to use technology to retain and enhance traditional customer service.

Rohini Alam, Savoury Food Category Manager for Nestlé Professional® commented:

“The increasing number of flexitarians in the UK reflects the need for more meat-free alternatives. The out of home dining sector has evolved over the past few years, but our research found consumers are still looking for more meat-free options on menus.

“We’re excited to launch a truly innovative range of meat-free alternatives that push the boundaries of what vegetarian and vegan options can deliver. From our research, we’ve found that people can be disappointed by the taste or monotony of vegan and vegetarian options when eating out of home, so we’ve worked hard to make tasty, meat-free alternatives that can easily replace many classic meat-based menu items. The texture and taste of the products really make this a versatile and easy-to-use range for chefs.” 

The Balancing Plates report was commissioned to celebrate the launch of its plant-based Garden Gourmet® range. Developed by Nestlé Professional®’s expert chefs and nutritionists, the products are made up of five easy and quick to prepare plant-based products, including vegan fillet pieces and mince, a vegetarian burger, vegetarian Schnitzel and a vegan burger.

Nichola Ludlam-Raine, UK Specialist Registered Dietitian is quoted in the report:

“Without compromising on taste, meat-free products offer a healthier alternative. The sector has moved away from rudimentary veggie burgers, to creating meat-substitutes that look, taste and feel like meat. This mass market appeal that works for meat-eaters and vegetarians is an important step for the sector as flexitarians, who are looking to reduce their meat consumption, now make up the majority of consumers.

Providers should look at creative ways to include these alternatives in menus, tweaking already popular dishes to meet the demand for healthier, more sustainable meals.

The Garden Gourmet® range is created with a significantly smaller environmental footprint than meat-based products[2]. Production uses less energy, land and emits less greenhouse gas emissions[3]. The products can be prepared easily and quickly, across a variety of dishes, lending themselves to favourites such as stir fries and lasagnes, simple salads or new creations, thanks to their versatility.

The full report delivers insights into consumer behaviour from industry experts and highlights that upcoming changes that will impact the sector. To download the report from Nestlé Professional® visit

[1] 3GEM research and insights survey of 1,000 UK adults November 2019

[2] 3rd party report. Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Garden Gourmet “Cook from Raw” range consumed in Europe and the United States. Critically reviewed study. Sonia Petzold (NPTC Singen) and Namy Espinoza Orias (Nestlé Research)

[3] 3rd party report. Screening Life Cycle Assessment of Garden Gourmet “Cook from Raw” range consumed in Europe and the United States. Critically reviewed study. Sonia Petzold (NPTC Singen) and Namy Espinoza Orias (Nestlé Research)

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