To mark Veganuary 2023, Sodexo has published data showing a year-on-year increase in the proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals sold at 476 of its UK and Ireland client sites.
During 2022 (January to November), 10% of all meals sold were vegetarian or vegan, compared with 8% during the same period in 2021. The group’s analysis is based on electronic point of sales systems data gathered from its 476 sites in the UK and Ireland from January to November.
Data shows that its highest proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals were sold in the East Midlands – accounting for 21% of all meals. The same period saw vegetarian and vegan meal sales of 15% in both the North West and Wales, 11% in London, 10% in Scotland, and 8% in Ireland.
When analysed by sector, Sodexo’s research shows that its Health & Care client sites sold the highest proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals, with an average of 17%. Corporate Services client sites followed closely with 13%, a notable increase on 2021, when an average 10% vegan and vegetarian lunch options were sold.
From selling just 2% vegan and vegetarian meals in 2021, Sodexo's Energy and Resources client sites experienced the highest increase of all its businesses, accelerating to 12% in 2022. Schools and universities remained constant at 5%, while government sites saw a moderate increase from 5% to 7%.
As part of its Social Impact Pledge, the firm is focused on increasing the uptake of sustainable meal options by promoting and raising awareness of sustainable plant-based choices among its clients.
Claire Atkins-Morris, director of corporate responsibility at Sodexo, said: “Whether people are vegan, vegetarian, or just want to try something new, it's great to see that more and more customers are trying plant-based meals across our sites. This really demonstrates a shift in consumer awareness, a wider range of options and a marketplace responding.
“We are a proud supporter of Veganuary, and our community of chefs are encouraging more customers to try our plant-based meals by developing delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes that show the variety of meal options people have at our client sites. As part of our Net Zero commitment, we have set ourselves the goal of increasing the number of plant-based meals and recipes our clients choose from to 33% by 2025.”
Toni Vernelli, head of communication and marketing at Veganuary, added: “We're delighted to see Sodexo reporting an increase in sales of vegan and vegetarian meals across their UK and Ireland client sites.
“It makes our job a lot simpler when organisations like Sodexo are offering delicious, nutritious, and easily accessible options.”