A greater diversity of meat-free meals in workplace restaurants managed by Sodexo Ireland have pushed the percentage sales of plant-based food options into double digits, according to food data results from 43 client sites. Over 25,600 vegetarian or vegan meals were bought on those sites between Feb and Nov 23 representing 19.6% of sales, more than double recorded in 2022.

Vegetarian and vegan dishes purchased on client sites in Northern Ireland also increased slightly in the same period, from 6.8% to 7.3%.

The findings align with Sodexo’s commitment to increase the take-up of sustainable meals by offering more plant-based meal options, and is a key action lever as part of its decarbonisation journey to net zero. 

Reflecting the growing global demand for more sustainable food alternatives, the Sodexo Group recently carried out the first annual International Sustainable Food Barometer with Harris Interactive, the research and opinion polls institute. It aims to identify and track what is needed to bring about changes in eating habits and accelerate the shift towards more sustainable diets.

Overall, 75% of respondents have a positive perception of sustainable food and 59% of them believe that adopting a more sustainable diet improves their quality of life. When asked what reason might make them more inclined to adopt a sustainable diet, the most popular response related to it having a beneficial effect on their health (46%). This was closely followed by financial savings (35%). 71% say they reduce their waste, 63% eat seasonal produce and 55% buy local produce wherever possible. 

However, the barometer revealed that while 79% believe that adopting a more sustainable way of eating is urgent, 73% of respondents prioritise cost and taste (62%) over the product’s environmental impact (30%) in their everyday food choices.

Julianne Forrestal, food transformation director, Sodexo Ireland, said

The increasing preference for meat-free options among our customers is a testament to both the shift in consumer awareness and to the work done by our talented chefs to reformulate menus and create new delicious plant-forward and plant-based recipes.

With a wide array of tasty and nutritious options available across our client sites, it is important that our consumers are able to make well-informed decisions about the food they eat

We know that food systems have an enormous impact on climate change, accounting for a third of global GHG emissions.

At Sodexo, we understand the crucial role we play in reshaping the nation’s eating habits to help reduce this.

We have committed to featuring 33% plant-based meals on our menus by 2025, as we respond to evolving preferences and navigate towards net zero 2040.

Sodexo Ireland is part of the global Sodexo Group, a world leader in delivering services that improve the quality of life to clients in business and industry, education, financial, pharma and healthcare. These include food services, infrastructure build, facilities and estate management, optimising the workplace experience, wellness experiences, personal and homecare services. Sodexo employs approximately 2100 people in Ireland and Northern Ireland.



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