Almost half of British adults want to eat more veg when eating out, according to a new YouGov survey for the Food Foundation.
On average, Brits eat out around three times a week but consume only half a portion of veg from those three occasions, the survey found.
It was released alongside new advice for foodservice operators to help offer healthier food including better menu positioning for veg-centric dishes, normalising veg to increase sales, and making veg or salad the default accompaniment.
Chefs and foodservice operators can also help increase veg consumption by including it as part of a meal, rather than an expensive side dish, results found.
“Restaurants are facing tough trading conditions at the moment but they could be missing a trick here,” said Food Foundation director Anna Taylor.
“This research, alongside recent trend data, clearly shows that consumers want to see more vegetables on the menu when they’re eating out.
“Putting more veg on customers’ plates is not just good for consumer health and the environment, but potentially good for business too. Moving enticing veg options up the menu and incorporating veg into meals rather than as an expensive side dish can help customers get the extra veg they want.”
The news comes amid a growing body of research that shows British consumers are considering lowering their meat intake.
A recent study from Mintel reported that almost a third (28 per cent) of Brits are reducing their meat consumption and a further 14 per cent say they’re interested in limiting their consumption in the future.
Andrew Stephen, CEO at the Sustainable Restaurant Association, said: "These findings come as absolutely no surprise as they are consistent with a number of recent surveys that bear witness to the public’s growing appetite for a wider, more delicious selection of vegetable based dishes on restaurant menus.
“Many chefs and restaurateurs have grasped the nettle and are meeting this increase in demand that has all the hallmarks of an irreversible movement rather than a passing trend. We would urge all restaurants to #FlipTheMenu and serve More Veg and Better Meat.”
Head chef at Roast, Stuart Cauldwell, said: “Peas Please is a great project and anything that encourages children to eat more vegetables has my vote. I spend a lot of time working with schools encouraging healthy diets and we are actively promoting more vegetable-led dishes on our menus at Roast.”