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Consumers Want A Plant-Based Twist on a Restaurant Classic, Pizza

By August 14, 2021 No Comments

Get A Plant-Based Twist on a Restaurant Classic, Pizza

 

Broadline shipments of plant-based proteins to pizza operators jumped by +56% in the second quarter of 2021

 

Chicago, IL –  Pizza has repeatedly ranked in the top foods ordered at U.S. restaurants. According to The NPD Group, in the quarter ending June 2021, there were 1.2 billion servings of pizza ordered, up +4% from the same quarter last year. An aspect of pizza’s popularity is that it can be customized to serve many different tastes and needs, like the growing interest in plant-based proteins. Units of plant-based protein meat analogues and ingredients shipped from broadline foodservice distributors to pizza operators increased by +56% in the second quarter compared to a year ago, reports NPD.

There is a lot of attention in the marketplace and media about plant-based foods, but there is also interest in these foods from consumers, chefs, and restaurant operators. Based on NPD research, about 20% of consumers say that they want to increase the amount of plant-based proteins they consume, and this sentiment has held steady throughout the pandemic. Chefs and operators see the plant-based protein category as a flexible option for developing recipes and menu offerings that taste good and their guests enjoy. Plant-based is now a staple in their repertoire.

Pizzas enable chefs and operators to customize easily with plant-based ingredients beginning with cauliflower crusts. Broadline shipments of cauliflower dough and crusts to pizza operators increased by +46% in the quarter ending June compared to the same quarter year ago. Unit shipments of plant-based meat analogues to pizza operators, like Italian sausage, chicken, and beef analogues, grew by double-digits in the quarter. Plant-based chicken analogue shipments to pizza operators increased by +98% and plant-based Italian sausage analogues by +72% in the second quarter compared to a year ago, according to NPD’s continual tracking of shipments and dollars from broadline foodservice distributors to commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets.

“Plant-based is no longer just a niche player in the foodservice market. It’s a mainstream ingredient that appeals to a broad section of consumers,” says Tim Fires, president of NPD’s SupplyTrack® service. “It makes perfect sense that a popular food, like pizza, would now offer plant-based options.”

 

As pandemic-related restaurant restrictions lift across the U.S., chefs and foodservice operators are refreshing their menu offerings and recipes. Plant-based proteins are one of the food categories they’re using to help update, reports The NPD Group. Shipments of plant-based proteins from foodservice distributors to commercial restaurants increased by +60% in April 2021 compared to the same month a year ago, when the category realized declines because of pandemic restrictions.  Shipments are up +16% compared to April 2019, according to NPD’s SupplyTrack®, which tracks every product shipped from leading distributors to more than 700,000 U.S. foodservice operators, capturing detail on over 80% of the broadline foodservice sales channel.

 

Plant-based beef analogues, which represent the largest share of plant-based protein shipments, increased pounds shipped by +45% in April 2021 compared to same month year ago, and +82% compared to two years ago. Chicken plant-based analogues, a more recent category than beef analogues, grew by +82% in April 2021 compared to April 2020 and +25% compared to April 2019. Another more recent entry is fish analogues, which grew by +181% in April compared to a year ago, and 78% compared to two years ago, although still a small category. Classic plant-based proteins, like grains, nuts, vegetables, tofu, and tempeh, also experienced substantial growth in April, finds NPD.

“There has been a lot of public discussion about plant-based beef and meat substitutes, and whether or not plant-based is a fad or a trend,” says Tim Fires, president of NPD’s SupplyTrack. “But the fact of the matter is, chefs and operators see the plant-based protein category as a flexible option for developing recipes and menu offerings that taste good, and their guests enjoy. Plant-based is now a staple in their repertoire.

 

About The NPD Group

NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, home improvement, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow them on Twitter: @npdgroup.

 

 

 

 

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