Grubhub's 2021 State of Plate shows vegetarian food orders are up 55% compared to last year

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / ArtistGNDphotography
Getty Images / ArtistGNDphotography

Related tags GrubHub plant-based

As the foodservice industry rebounds and consumers return to restaurant dining, mobile ordering app GrubHub took a look back at the past six months of ordering trends made by the approximately 33 million users of its mobile app.

In its third-annual 'State of the Plate' report, which is based on tens of millions of orders on the Grubhub platform over the past six months (January 2021 - June 2021) compared to the same time frame in 2020, Grubhub saw a sustained trend towards plant-based eating with more traditional meat-based options mixed in.

"Unlike 2020, diners opted for the plant-based versions of delivery classics so far in 2021,"​ noted Grubhub.

In its top-most ordered foods the plant-based sausage wrap topped the list with an +549% increase in orders. Korean barbecue cauliflower wings also made the list with a +302% increase in orders of the past six months, said Grubhub. 

Top Foods of 2021 To Date:

  1. Plant-based sausage wrap: (+549%) 
    Plant-based sausage wrap_GrubHub
  2. Bubble milk tea: (+505%)
  3. Birria taco: (+500%)
  4. Everything omelet: (+454%)
  5. Strawberry banana cream smoothie (+430%)
  6. Spicy miso tonkotsu ramen: (354%)
  7. Churro waffle: (+339%)
  8. Beef empanada: (+333%)
  9. Nashville hot chicken sandwich: (+327%)
  10. Korean barbecue cauliflower wing: (+302%)

Top side dishes on the Grubhub platform were mostly Southern cuisine-inspired, with Cajun fries (+630%), red beans and rice (+612%), corn chowder (603%), jalapeño bites (+465%), and biscuits and gravy (+368%) making the top five.

In the dessert category, consumers made room to indulge, reported Grubhub, with chocolate french silk pie the most-ordered dessert.

Plant-based eating trends

Drilling down into plant-based food orders, Grubhub found that orders for vegan and vegetarian meals were up double digits compared to the first six months of 2020.

So far this year, vegan orders have risen by 17%, plant-based burgers increased by 28%, and general vegetarian orders surged by 55%, according to Grubhub ordering data. 

The top five vegan orders included the plant-based sausage wrap, barbecue cauliflower wing (+302%), mushroom & tofu broth ramen (+299%), sautéed string beans and garlic (+264%), and grilled vegetable hummus bowl: (+242%).

Seasonal food ordering forecast

"The weather tends to affect our eating habits, so we looked at which orders rose the most this past winter and spring. We expect a mix of hot and cold food orders to trend during the summer months and desserts during the fall months with one obvious go-to flavor (i.e. pumpkin),"​ said Grubhub.

Forecasts: Fall (in ranking order)

  1. Vegan mapo tofu
  2. Truffle mushroom swiss burger
  3. Raspberry cheesecake
  4. Cookie & cream milkshake
  5. Pumpkin cupcake

Top Trends: Winter

  1. Short rib rigatoni: (+270%)
  2. corned beef and cabbage: (+219%)
  3. Butternut squash soup: (+154%)
  4. Grilled chicken avocado sandwich: (+131%)
  5. Chicken dum biryani: (+124%)

Top Trends: Spring

  1. Margherita pizza: (+283%)
  2. Strawberry lemonade freeze: (+210%)
  3. Peanut butter sundae: (+194%)
  4. Spicy chicken sandwich: (+165%)
  5. Chicken bacon ranch melt" (+154%)

Forecasts: Summer (in ranking order)

  1. Loaded chicken nachos
  2. Barbecue pork quesadilla
  3. Watermelon slushy
  4. Strawberry shortcake sundae
  5. Heirloom tomato salad


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