The growth of plant-based menus appears set to continue as Australia’s cafes and restaurants emerge from hibernation. Companies like the Meatless Farm are supporting the transition.
It’s been a challenging period for the sector. We all know the story.
When social-distancing measures were introduced in March, some businesses pivoted into takeaway and home deliveries, others looked for novel ways to repurpose their facilities, and others went into hibernation.
That might seem an ambitious environment in which to enter the Australian food services market, but it was in May that Meatless Farm, the UK’s fastest growing plant-based meat company, chose to bring their range of plant-based mince, sausages, and burger patties to Australia.
Meatless Farm, and its Australian partner, Decade Foods, judged that the drivers of Australia’s transition towards plant-based diets were likely to continue over the long-run (see below), and that Australia’s cafes and restaurants would continue to plan for the future.
Australia leading the global trend towards plant-based eating
Australia is the world’s third fastest growing market for plant-based foods, as growing awareness of environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and a focus on healthy lifestyles drive Australian consumers towards increasingly plant-based and ‘flexitarian’ diets.
Roy Morgan has estimated that the number of Australians who eat ‘all or mostly vegetarian’ rose from 1.7 million in 2012 to nearly 2.5 million in 2019.
And then there is the growing number of Australians who simply want to reduce their meat consumption by having one or two meat free nights each week.
For all these reasons Australians are projected to increase their spending on plant-based meats from AUD $150 million a year currently, to as much as AUD $4.6 billion by 2030.
That bet on the resilience of Australia’s food services sector, and on Australia’s ability to continue to lead the global trend towards plant-based eating more generally, is starting to look well placed.
Meatless Farm products have started to appear in a range of venues across the greater Sydney region, and are poised to expand into Canberra this weekend.
Popular Sydney burger joint Suburgia featured Meatless Farm’s plant-based patties in their May Burger of the Month, ‘The Magnificently Meatless’, and was pleasantly surprised by the response.
“I’m a card-carrying meat eater. It’s fair to say I’ve been a little sceptical of plant-based meats to date, but the patties are great.
We’re proud of every burger of the month we produce, but the Magnificently Meatless enjoyed a much stronger reception than we’d anticipated. We’re now using the patty in all our vegetarian and vegan burger options.” said Mike Jefferies from Suburgia.
And long run stalwarts of plant-based eating have also been impressed.
Gigi Pizzeria in Sydney’s Newtown, an institution for vegetarians and vegans in Sydney, included the Meatless Farm sausage in their Salsiccia Panuzo (think pizza panini) when they reopened for lunchtime eating a fortnight ago.
Ariel’s Restaurant in the Illawarra region south of Sydney have also come on board, using the Meatless Farm sausages in a gourmet plant-based hot dog they launched last week.
“Our plant-based menu has steadily expanded over the past few years, it’s a growing trend. We wanted to design a gourmet plant-based hot dog that people would eat on taste grounds alone. Their sausages are great.” said Joe Harb from Ariel’s.
And Meatless Farm is poised to launch in Canberra this coming weekend, with Gather, a young, fresh, and energetic café that prides itself on healthy and sustainable eating, situated in Canberra’s gentrified foodie capital, Braddon.
“We’re looking forward to unveiling our new menu items this weekend. We think our guests will love them.” Said Mars and Will from Gather.
Meatless Farm’s arrival in Australia follows the company’s explosive growth in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States, where they are stocked by Wholefoods, since their founding only four years ago.
The company’s plant-based meats are 100 per cent vegan, high in protein, high in fibre, cholesterol free, and non-GMO.
Their resemblance to animal-based meats allows chefs to easily adapt their menus to offer plant-based versions of classic dishes like lasagna, pasta sauces, pizza, tacos, nachos, burritos, hot dogs, burgers, meat pies, sausage rolls, and anything else that includes animal-based mince, sausages, or burger patties.
Interested buyers and chefs can get in touch with Decade Foods, and can learn more about Meatless Farm’s products and their potential uses at www.meatlessfarm.com/australia