facebook pixal
Food

As consumers eat less meat, tilapia fills the protein gap

Photograph: Shutterstock

As plant-based and plant-forward menu items continue to grow in 2020, operators are ready to help meet the needs of diners who don’t want to eat meat. However, vegetarian meals don’t have to be the only alternative for diners who want to eat less meat. Tilapia and other fish are a great option for many people as well. What’s more, it’s perhaps more approachable for operators. With fish, preparation methods such as grilling, steaming or baking are already familiar, and with consumers already familiar with the fish itself, there’s no reluctance related to trying new, plant-based protein options.

Premium tilapia presents a great opportunity for operators. Affordable and versatile, it can be used in an array of dishes and can be priced to sell.

Diners choosing fish more often

Half of consumers eat a seafood dish at least once a week, compared to just 34% for vegan or vegetarian dishes, according to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report. What’s more, about one-fifth (21%) of consumers say they are eating more seafood than they were two years ago, 32% say they expect they will eat more of it in the future and 39% say they are eating more seafood in lieu of meat. As diners are looking for alternatives to meat, plant-forward options may not be appealing to those who don’t want to eat a vegetarian or vegan meal. For those diners, tilapia provides a perfect option.

A powerhouse protein

Tilapia is high in protein and low in calories, fat and carbs, and it also has as much omega-3 as other more expensive fish, such as cod, mahi-mahi and yellowfin tuna. With a desirable nutrition profile, this lower-cost option is an ideal option for restaurant menus. What’s more, a majority (56%) of consumers strongly agree that seafood is just as filling as meals that include meat. Operators who offer tilapia can feel comfortable and confident that this protein won’t fall short of diners’ expectations.

What kind of tilapia dishes do diners want?

Technomic’s report found that nearly half (49%) of consumers would like restaurants to offer a wider variety of seafood dishes, while 37% want restaurants to offer more ethnic seafood dishes. Tilapia, with its light and flaky texture and mild flavor, gives operators the perfect canvas to work with when creating craveable seafood dishes.

At Osha Thai in San Francisco, a recently added dish called Lemongrass Tilapia offers diners an interesting take on this familiar fish. For this dish, tilapia is paired with bok choy, spinach, mushrooms, ginger, onions, lemongrass, sesame oil and honey-mushroom sauce, and is served with jasmine rice. And at Francesca’s Restaurants locations in Chicago and Raleigh, N.C., diners can enjoy Tilapia con Brodetto: sauteed tilapia with sea scallops, mussels, cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, Castelvetrano olives and salsa verde. Both dishes offer layers of globally inspired flavor and are sure to satisfy diners’ protein needs—as well as their desire to avoid meat, should they be doing so.

By offering consumers flavorful, original tilapia dishes, operators can cater not only to those who are looking for meatless dishes that still pack a protein punch but also to diners who want something flavorful and exciting. To learn more about the tilapia options available for restaurants, visit regalsprings.com/foodservice.

Get a free sample of Regal Springs Panko Encrusted Tilapia today at regalsprings.com/panko-free-sample/

 

DATA SUBSTANTIATION:

Half of consumers eat a seafood dish at least once a week, compared to just 34% for vegan or vegetarian dishes, according to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report.

Consumption Frequency

What’s more, about one-fifth (21%) of consumers say they are eating more seafood than they were two years ago,

Consumption shifts

32% say they expect they will eat more of it in the future and

Predictions

39% say they are eating more seafood in lieu of meat

Drivers for increased consumption

What’s more, a majority (56%) of consumers strongly agree that seafood is just as filling as meals that include meat

Meat

Technomic’s report found that nearly half (49%) of consumers would like restaurants to offer a wider variety of seafood dishes, while 37% want restaurants to offer more ethnic seafood dishes

Demand

This post is sponsored by Regal Springs

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know restaurant industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Restaurant Business on news and insights that matter to your brand.

Trending