ProVeg SA releases the country’s first Plant-Based Friendly Fast-Food Franchise Ranking

How plant-based friendly are South Africa’s top fast-food franchises? 

ProVeg South Africa assessed the big players and ranked them accordingly


The full report and ranking can be found here.


“While the ranking report highlights a few franchises that do have good plant-based options, the biggest take-away should be the numerous opportunities available to those franchises that don’t have any, as well as opportunities for local food manufacturers who can supply the franchises with these plant-based alternatives.” – Donovan Will, ProVeg South Africa Country Director


ProVeg South Africa (ProVeg SA) recently assessed the plant-based offerings available at South Africa’s top fast-food franchise restaurants for the period ending February of 2022. 


In the top six spots were Kauai, Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis, Burger King, Simply Asia, and Steers, with other beloved franchises like Nando’s, RocoMamas, and KFC trailing behind.


In total, 23 fast-food franchise restaurants were assessed based on varied criteria, centred largely around the number of plant-based items available on their menus.

Fast Food Rankings


Worldwide, there has been a notable positive shift in consumer perception toward plant-based eating. This has caused exciting responses from all types of food producers and service providers who are scrambling to innovate, produce and serve plant-based foods to cater to the growing plant-based market. Driven mainly by flexitarians, these changes are not overlooked by the fast-food industry that is readily embracing the transformations in their consumer demands. 


This report unpacks the assessment and focuses predominantly on the performance of the top six plant-based friendly fast-food franchise restaurants in South Africa. It highlights some of their plant-based menu items and evaluates their overall contribution to the plant-based space. It also highlights brands that are lagging in their plant-based offerings. 


This assessment forms a part of ProVeg International’s fast-food franchise outlets ranking that recurs in Europe and the United States of America. 


Market Size


According to a report published by Verified Market Research, the Vegan Fast-Foods Market size was valued at USD 17 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 40.25 Billion by 2028, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.40% from 2021 to 2028


The rising awareness about the environmental and health benefits of following a plant-based diet is considered a crucial driving factor fuelling the demand for more sustainable products by consumers of fast-food products.


In addition, the growing consciousness about the inhumane treatment of animals by the food industry has inspired consumers to reduce their consumption of animals and to try meat analogue proteins, such as plant-based products. This shift in consumer demands and the industry’s need to continually innovate are accountable for the market growth.  


Globally, most leading fast-food restaurants have responded to the increasing interest in adopting vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian lifestyles by offering meat alternative products, as either a new menu item or product replacement of an existing menu favourite. 




The results of this ranking indicate that there has been definite growth and inclusion of plant-based options by some of South Africa’s top fast-food chains. It must also be acknowledged that more independent brands, such as Kauai and Simply Asia, have done well in leading the movement towards including plant-based friendly items on their menu. 


Furthermore, the performance of large chains like Spur, Panarottis and Burger King indicate that fast-food restaurants do have the capacity to successfully include plant-based options on their menus in South Africa.


By far, the largest opportunity for plant-based food adoption currently sits with the meat-eating and flexitarian consumer, who may not be motivated by animal ethics, but is interested in trying these options for other benefits, such as sustainability, health or even taste. For many of the restaurants surveyed, simply replacing one of two ingredients, like meat or dairy, would result in several of their menu items being considered as either vegan or plant-based. This would appeal to a new market currently avoiding such establishments based on a lack of choice or options.


As the plant-based industry is continually growing, and people are becoming accustomed to meat alternatives, the fast-food industry in South Africa should consider partnering with a variety of South African food manufacturers and retailers which are starting to expand in this space. There is a burgeoning number of small plant-based meat alternative food manufacturers that are establishing themselves in the South African market. Large retailers across South Africa are also rushing to produce quality plant-based meat alternatives to establish a footing in this market. This period provides an excellent opportunity to cement new relationships in the plant-based industry and establish South Africa as a strong plant-based fast-food player internationally. 


Through the vehicle of the South African fast-food industry, this could also provide the opportunity for South African food manufacturers to establish their products on an international scale.


As the authority in the plant-based sector, ProVeg South Africa can assist companies that currently have or are considering placing plant-based options on their menus. In some cases, the transition to being considered 100% plant-based is just one ingredient switch away from being a reality. For restaurants that are venturing into the plant-based sector for the first time, having a food awareness organisation that has the knowledge and understands the territory and market is a necessity.     


About ProVeg South Africa


ProVeg SA is the South African chapter of ProVeg International, an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.


ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.


ProVeg has permanent observer status with UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. 


Most of ProVeg’s work in South Africa is focused on public awareness campaigns, education and community building, and corporate engagement.


What ProVeg South Africa Does


An increasing number of consumers are reducing their meat consumption and aiming for more sustainable lifestyle choices. ProVeg South Africa encourages a shift towards sustainability in all areas, including big restaurant chains. Any attempt to increase the availability of plant-based options by making them more accessible to the broader public is in accordance with ProVeg’s mission. ProVeg’s wide reach and numerous branches globally put fast-food companies in an influential position to be major contributors to the introduction of healthier, more sustainable products.


With ProVeg’s extensive insights and knowledge of the plant-based sector, ProVeg is uniquely positioned to help those in the fast-food services kick-start their journey into the plant-based space or expand their existing portfolio of plant-based products. Resources ProVeg SA offers includes consumer insights, market research and our ability to connect food industry stakeholders with innovative alternative-protein players in the local and international plant-based sector.   


ProVeg SA Food Services


As a leading NGO in the alternative-protein space, we have no commercial agenda. This allows us to provide objective expert advice and support businesses successfully and effectively by harnessing the power and profitability of the shift to plant-based eating, in the most appropriate way for your business. We work with companies along the entire value chain, which gives us unique insights into the key challenges, and opportunities at every stage of the journey as you take your product to market.


Whether you are an investor, startup, food producer, retailer, or food services provider, we believe that a key component should be part of your sustainability strategy.


Our range of services extends to:

  • Research
  • Trend Analysis
  • Market Sizing
  • Benchmarking
  • Ecosystem Mapping
  • Consumer Demand Analysis
  • Consulting
  • Customised Ingredient and Menu Review
  • Product Portfolio Analysis
  • V-Label Certification
  • Advertising, Promotion, Communications & Eventing
  • Kitchen Preparation and Training
  • Partner Networking 
  • Test Community
  • Taste and Texture Evaluation
  • New Product Innovation
  • Surveys and Feedback


Vegan Certification


When it comes to certifying products as ‘vegan’, ProVeg has partnered with V-Label, an internationally recognised, registered symbol for labelling vegan products and services, that promotes transparency and clarity. For consumers, V-Label is a simple and reliable guide to help them identify food products that have been checked and approved by an authority, to ensure no animal or animal by-product was used in the production of the selling product. For companies, this certification helps instil trust and confidence in the consumer that their brand has taken the necessary steps to have their products authorised and endorsed by a well-recognised and respected global certification organisation. 


Future Research


As a result of this research project, it became clear that marketing sizing data in the plant-based sector, both in retail and food services, are scarce. ProVeg South Africa will be updating their fast-food restaurant ranking annually and looking at ways to constantly improve the way they conduct their methodology. They also plan to publish other rankings such as a Café/Coffee shop ranking and a Retailer ranking. Any companies or organisations that may be interested in collaboration on research can contact ProVeg South Africa.  



It must be noted that this report explicitly uses the term “plant-based” to cater for the fact that the assessment process did not examine the food preparation process to account for the possibility of cross-contamination with animal products. As such, the assessment cannot be qualified as an explicitly “vegan” ranking.  


For media inquiries, contact:  


Arleen Nel

Communications Coordinator

ProVeg South Africa

[email protected] 

+27 72 649 2346


For business and research inquiries, contact:


Anusha Lakha

Corporate Engagement & V-Label Coordinator

ProVeg South Africa

[email protected]

+27 71 125 4336