This surprising plant-based meal is the most popular delivery order on Grubhub
Delivery platform Grubhub has released its third annual “State of the Plate” report and a surprising plant-based meal is the most ordered item in the first six months of 2021. While the spicy chicken sandwich took the top spot in Grubhub’s semi-annual report last year Plant-based sausage packaging is the front runner in 2021 with an order increase of 549 percent. Other meatless orders on Grubhub also experienced an upswing in the last six months, including barbecue cauliflower wings (up 302 percent); Ramen with mushroom and tofu broth (up 299 percent); and grilled vegetable hummus bowls (up 242 percent).
The semi-annual report looked at the orders of tens of million Grubhub users from January to June 2021 and compared them with the same period in 2020. Based on the data, Grubhub predicted that Vegan Mapo Tofu (a spicy Chinese dish made from Sichuan peppers) will be sold in be a top trend this fall. The semi-annual report also identified the top cities for vegan orders: Los Angeles, CA; New York City, NY; Portland, OR; Miami, Florida; and Philadelphia, PA.
Plant-based burgers are big on Grubhub
The new data builds on a plant-based boom on Grubhub in recent years. In its year-end report “Year in Food” in 2020, Grubhub reported that orders for plant-based meat alternatives rose 463 percent, with orders for meatless Impossible Cheeseburgers increasing 222 percent in November 2020 alone. This data builds on the State of the Plate 2019 semi-annual report, which identified the Impossible Burger as its most popular late-night order, with vegan orders up 25 percent and orders from Impossible Burgers up 82 percent through June 2019.
In the past year, the popularity of vegan and vegetarian trends has slowed somewhat (growth of 13 percent in 2020 compared to 27 percent in 2019). That could bounce back in 2021, however, as Grubhub’s latest semi-annual report finds vegan orders up 17 percent, with plant-based burgers specifically up 28 percent.
“We love to watch the various trends among our millions of guests over the season and over the years,” Natalie Gerke, Grubhub Trends expert, told VegNews. “We were excited to see what would change when the country opened up again and were surprised to see the vegetarian options lead the way in 2020 after a year of comfort dining.”
Vegan food, delivered
Grubhub’s data mirrors that of its competitors, with all major delivery platforms seeing an increase in plant-based orders in recent years. Orders for vegan burgers on DoorDash increased by 433 percent in the six-month period from January 2020 to the end of June 2020. The company’s own report “DoorDash Deep Dish” in the middle of the year asked 2,000 Americans about their eating habits during COVID-19, found that 70 percent of those surveyed spent more time cooking and 20 percent said they were “seriously considering veganism”.
And the plant-based trend isn’t just limited to ordering ready-made meals in restaurants. Food delivery platform Instacart also reported a plant-based boom on its platform, with users showing strong interest in dairy-free ice cream in 2020. In its trend report, Instacart found that searches for “dairy-free ice cream” had increased by 25 percent and those for “plant-based ice cream” – which is defined as ice cream with plant-based and fruity ingredients – increased by 658 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 . In its latest Plant Power report, Instacart found that one in three (33 percent) of its users bought dairy-free milk or plant-based meat in 2021. During the pandemic, Instacart reported that shoppers were increasingly looking for plant-based products on its platform, and sales of plant-based meat and dairy-free milk rose significantly in 2020, up 42 percent and 27 percent from the previous year, respectively.
“Plant-based foods have evolved from a niche category to a food staple over the past two years,” said Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart Trends Expert and Senior Product Manager. “The search for terms like ‘plant-based’, ‘meat-free’, vegetarian ‘and most importantly’ vegan ‘increased on Instacart as consumers searched for healthy meals to take at home during the 2020 lockdown. And this trend is turning into a long-term lifestyle – search popularity increased even further in 2021. “
The trend is not limited to the United States, as UK delivery platform Deliveroo is also reporting a boom in plant-based orders. In the past three years, vegan food has been the fastest growing category on Deliveroo, with a category growth of 107 percent in the last year alone, with users searching for the term “vegan” five times more often than other terms such as “plant-based”. and “vegetarian”.