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Plant-based fast-food? It exists and this is what SA’s biggest fast-food joints are offering.
“While the ranking report highlights a few franchises that do have good plant-based options, the biggest take-away should be the numerous opportunities available to those franchises that don’t have any, as well as opportunities for local food manufacturers who can supply the franchises with these plant-based alternatives.” – Donovan Will, ProVeg South Africa Country Director ProVeg South Africa (ProVeg SA) recently assessed the plant-based offerings available at South Africa’s top fast-food franchise restaurants for the period ending February of 2022. This is the country’s first-ever ranking of its kind. In the top six spots were Kauai, Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis, Burger King, Simply Asia, and Steers, with other beloved franchises like Nando’s, RocoMamas, and KFC trailing behind. In total, 23 fast-food franchise restaurants were ranked based on varied criteria, focused largely on the number of plant-based items available on their menus. Plant-based eating is on the rise globally, whether for health, environmental or animal rights reasons. There is even a term for people who want to eat less meat and animal products – flexitarians. Believe it or not, they are the ones pushing the movement for more plant-based options in restaurants and other retail outlets, including fast-food chains. That is why ProVeg SA looked at dozens of fast-food restaurant menus to find out exactly how plant-based friendly they are and which franchises are leading the pack. This ranking forms a part of ProVeg International’s fast-food franchise outlets ranking that recurs in Europe and the United States of America. But why is it necessary to do these rankings? Simple. As more and more people try to reduce their meat intake, it is important for them to know which companies recognize their needs, and act to meet them. This is a good indication for customers on where the values of the companies they are supporting lay. It is also important to note the benefits that come from having plant-based options for meals that are standardly made with meat. Take the humble burger for example. The carbon footprint of a typical beef burger is about 3.8kg of CO2, versus 1.12kg of CO2 from a veggie or plant-based burger. Put differently, producing a beef burger uses as many resources as charging your phone 485 times, vs 143 phone charges for a veggie burger. Something to think about next time you are waiting in line at a drive-through or ordering takeaway from your phone. What is next? After finishing this research project, ProVeg South Africa realised that marketing sizing data in the plant-based sector, both in retail and food services, are scarce. That is why ProVeg SA will be updating their fast-food restaurant ranking annually and looking at ways to constantly improve the way they conduct their methodology. They also plan to publish other rankings, like a Café/Coffee shop ranking and a Retailer ranking. Any companies or organisations that may be interested in collaboration on research can contact Anusha Lakha, Corporate Engagement & V-Label Coordinator at ProVeg SA, via email at email@example.com. About ProVeg South Africa ProVeg SA is the South African chapter of ProVeg International, an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives. ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet. ProVeg has permanent observer status with UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. Most of ProVeg’s work in South Africa is focused on public awareness campaigns, education and community building, and corporate engagement. What ProVeg South Africa Does An increasing number of consumers are reducing their meat consumption and aiming for more sustainable lifestyle choices. ProVeg South Africa encourages a shift towards sustainability in all areas, including big restaurant chains. Any attempt to increase the availability of plant-based options by making them more accessible to the broader public is in accordance with ProVeg’s mission. ProVeg’s wide reach and numerous branches globally put fast-food companies in an influential position to be major contributors to the introduction of healthier, more sustainable products. With ProVeg’s extensive insights and knowledge of the plant-based sector, ProVeg is uniquely positioned to help those in the fast-food services kick-start their journey into the plant-based space or expand their existing portfolio of plant-based products. Resources ProVeg SA offers include consumer insights, market research, and our ability to connect food industry stakeholders with innovative alternative-protein players in the local and international plant-based sector. *Disclaimer: It must be noted that this report explicitly uses the term “plant-based” to cater to the fact that the assessment process did not examine the food preparation process to account for the possibility of cross-contamination with animal products. As such, the assessment cannot be qualified as an explicitly “vegan” ranking.