Vegans pay more, report finds

A study has found that vegan diners can pay up to 65 percent more for a meal than those with ‘standard’ ordering habits. The survey asked 2,000 people about their dining-out habits, and the results showed that dietary requirements were an opportunity for profit for restaurants, rather than a burden. The report found that the current revenue of restaurants across the UK could increase by up to £9 billion, up from £40 billion, if restaurants fulfilled the demands of those with dietary requirements.

“Vegetarian, flexitarian or pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or fat-free diners [are] paying more attention to what they eat (or don’t eat) than ever before,” the report said. “One in every four people who walk into a UK restaurant will have a dietary requirement of some kind. Digging a little deeper, we found that selective eaters are more likely to be under the age of 35, identify as female or non-binary, live in an urban area or on an income of £50,000 or more. They are also more likely to live in the east of the UK.”

Around 25 percent of the UK now falls under the ‘selective eater’ categories, including vegan (9 percent), vegetarian (22 percent) and food allergies (30 percent). Of these selective eaters, 80 percent dine out at least once a month and 60 percent would go out if restaurants were more willing to accommodate for them.

New Zealand-born chef Chantelle Nicholson, chef and owner of Tredwells, said that while vegan ingredients are often cheaper, the amount of time that goes into making them can often be higher.

"The cost of the main elements – a hanger steak versus an aubergine – is where the first difference lies: the aubergine portion itself is 25 percent of the cost of the steak,” she wrote earlier this year. “But the 'labour' (for want of a better word) cost is probably flipped. So, why is the cost not the same? The answer is the age-old formula of supply and demand. If the demand at that price point is not there, it won't sell. And restaurants need to sell food to remain in business.”