The plant-based organisation ProVeg South Africa has released a report on the prevalence of plant-based options in South Africa’s fast-food and restaurant industry. According to the report, titled “The 2023 Proveg South Africa Plant-Based Friendly Fast-Food Franchise Ranking”, fast-food consumption in South Africa has surged by 33.1% since 2019. Responding to growing health, ethical, and environmental concerns, plant-based main dishes have seen a 16.67% increase in menus, although they still are less than 5% of the total food offerings.

According to ProVeg, the rise in vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian consumers make up 10-12% of the South African consumer base. The report focuses on the number of plant-based offerings at major Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). QSRs were awarded points based on the number of plant-based main dishes, the percentage of plant-based main dishes, the number of side dishes, the percentage of plant-based side dishes, the number of plant-based desserts, the percentage of plant-based desserts, and finally, the QSRs menu labeling and presentation. The report also identifies a significant gap in robust advertising campaigns for plant-based menu items.

The report concludes: “QSRs have many opportunities to expand in the plant-based industry based on the quantity and types of plant-based dishes provided, how they appeal to current and potential consumers, and how well these items are presented on their menus. QSRs have the platform to showcase plant-based eating in an appealing and accessible way to the average fast-food-eating South African. They are uniquely positioned to play an influential role in promoting plant-based eating more broadly.”

Donovan Will, director of ProVeg South Africa, said to Vegconomist, “The report once again highlights significant opportunities available in the plant-based space within QSRs in South Africa, from new products that still need to be developed and gaps on menus to be filled by existing products, to ways for outlets to attract more customers.”

Last year, ProVeg South Africa reported that 30,000 South Africans had signed up for Veganuary since 2019.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.