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More customers are opting for vegan food, and the coronavirus pandemic is ‘accelerating the trend’, according to Al Arabiya English.

The outlet spoke to food expert Fabrice Vriens, brand manager for Bareburger Restaurant in the UAE, who revealed that more diners are opting for plant meat.

‘Virusphobia’

He said: “The COVID-19 crisis is pretty much associated with the consumption of animal meat, and has created ‘virusphobia’.

“We believe that is the main reason that consumers are increasing their plant-based food consumption. We have seen a rise in the share of Beyond Meat and vegan offerings in our total sales.”

He added that while the brand noticed that flexitarian diets were on the rise last year, the coronavirus pandemic ‘has driven more of their customers to their plant-based options’. Vegan burger in the Dubai outlet sales have increased from 35 percent in January to 50 percent of all burgers sold now.

Tofurky sales

Other brands have also seen sales spike: according to plant-based meat company Tofurky, its growth doubled in March, compared to January and February, before the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In March, our sales shot up around 37 percent growth over March 2019, which was almost exactly twice the growth rate that we saw in January and February, before the Covid-19 outbreak,” Seth Tibbott, founder and chair of plant-based brand said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“Health, concern for animals, and environmental reasons all play a part in driving this upward trend, and with the advancements in flavor and texture of plant-based products, this is also a major reason for the category’s expansion.”