Workplace caterer Sodexo Ireland says that 21,600 vegetarian or vegan meals were bought at 43 client sites last year, representing 8.5% of sales and up from 5% in 2021.
Veggie dishes purchased on client sites in Northern Ireland remained steady at 6% of sales.
Sodexo said demand for plant-based food options is greatest during the summer months, though December also has a strong showing.
Vegan options offered by Sodexo include lentil celeriac chestnut pie, potato mixed bean chilli, tofu summer tart, Southern Indian vegan chickpea curry, vegan mushroom burger, vegan chicken nuggets and aubergine masala.
Corporate responsibility director Claire Atkins-Morris stated: “Our 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.”
Sodexo is a supporter of Veganuary, a UK non-profit that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond.
During its 2022 campaign, the organisation says that 620,000 people pledged to try a vegan diet, while 1,540 new vegan products and menu options were launched in our key campaign countries.
Veganuary encourages people to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environment and improving human health.
Spokesman Toni Vernelli commented: “Veganuary is here to support anyone who wants to try being vegan, and it makes our job a lot simpler when organisations like Sodexo are offering nutritious and easily accessible options.”
Founded in Marseille in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo operates in 53 countries and serves 100 million consumers each day.
Turnover in FY22 was €21bn euro and the company is the number two ranked France-based private employer worldwide.