Plant-based and plant-forward items have surged on menus in 2019, and there’s no sign of this trend slowing down in 2020. The term plant-based has grown 81% over the past year at leading chain restaurants, according to Technomic Ignite menu data, with much of the buzz radiating from the Impossible and Beyond brands of burgers and other meat substitutes. Impossible has grown 300% in menu mentions over the past year, while Beyond mentions have increased by 70%.
But plant-based menu items that more closely resemble real vegetables than burgers are also on the rise. More veggie-centric entrees are showing up on menus, with cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms and more subbing for animal proteins in the center of the plate. And veggie replacements for grains and dairy products are on the upswing too. There are large crops of vegetables still to explore to tap into this trend.