Innovative Solutions: Plant-Based Fast Food
Although the number of livestock being raised for consumption is more than ever before in this day and age, a shift can be seen in the variety of food being offered to the public. More and more we can witness a supply of “plant-based” foods. Living in the suburbs and living near urban areas, I have witnessed an introduction of restaurants and products that are moving away from the typical highly processed, highly caloric American diet of meat in every meal. The general public has become increasingly aware of the sustainable diets of vegans and vegetarians. The motive behind these diets typically begins with an interest in health and animal rights, but is increasingly recognized for its environmental benefit. This is a new type of demand that has been and continues to be met with innovative ideas, products, and systems.
From Veggie Grill on the west coast to By Chloe on the east coast, we can witness the introduction of vegan fast food to populated, metropolitan areas. Veggie Grill is America’s largest vegan fast food chain. They advertise all of their products as being free of meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products, and therefore, free of antibiotics and hormones. By Chloe, starting in New York City, has grown to be a world-wide vegan fast food chain. On the menus of both restaurants and many plant-based restaurants, you can find a plethora of mock meats. Veggie Grill specifically uses Beyond Meat and Gardein products to make many of their burger, sandwiches, salads, and bowl entrees have the look and taste of meat without the environmental and ethical costs.
Although mock meats can be a great alternative for those aspiring or transitioning to be more plant-based, there are also endless plant-based meals that do not involve mock meat that have great potential to contribute to this fast-food vegan industry. Mock meats are heavily processed and typically expensive products, making it not ideal for them to be at the forefront of expanding vegan food industry.
I propose a restaurant and or chain that provides meals from strictly plant-based ingredients. All meals would be made from mainly, if not all, locally sourced vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts. This business model value proposition is providing a more environmentally friendly diet, while considering the economic and social needs and desires of consumers. A main key business partner would be local farmers. Ideally this type of business would be able to thrive and affordably provide in a range of locations. We see many of these up and coming vegan restaurants as being located in metropolitan areas, targeting middle-high income consumers. The intended social impact of this business model is to serve consumers from all different levels of income. Key resistances to this business model are competing chain restaurants that may not provide the most nutrisich food, but they provide food at a ideal cost for low-income customers. Another competitor of this model are the current vegan business models we have seen that gain interest from a range of consumers through their mock meats. Yet, this business model is designed to provide affordable nutrition that benefits the entire community socially and economically. A restaurant that functioned on a local level with the goal of providing healthy, affordable plant-based meals matches the credentials of being sustainable and while innovatively expanding upon the growing vegan market.