Top US retailers scored on plant-based offerings in GFI report
The report ranked the retailers based on their plant-based product assortment, merchandising and marketing.
The report revealed that Whole Foods and Kroger-owned King Soopers are “leading the way in capitalising on the plant-based trend” and recognised Giant Food and Wegmans for strong performance.
COVID-19 lockdowns have seen surges in demand for meat-alternative foods in some cases, and the report claimed that top retailers are doubling down on their own product lines in 2020 as mainstream consumer demand continues to increase. The report highlighted that Kroger will launch at least four new plant-based product types in the second and third quarters, and Target aims to more than double their store-brand assortment in 2020.
Whole Foods and King Soopers have the best overall plant-based assortments of the top retailers, according to the report, with 360 and 410 products, respectively, offered on shelves – 50 percent more than most other top retailers, whose selections averaged 270 products.
Kroger Senior Vice President of Merchandising, Joe Grieshaber, said: “Kroger anticipates interest in plant-based products to continue to grow in 2020, with the category being one of the key drivers of our natural and organic sales.”
Whole Foods Market SVP of Global Culinary Procurement & Operations, Jeff Turnas, commented: “Whole Foods Market has long been a champion of plant-based eating. We feature a wide variety of alternative protein options across our store, including high-quality, chef-inspired vegan and vegetarian options in our Prepared Foods Department, which includes our Chef’s Case, salad bar, hot bar, and a variety of convenient grab-and-go items.”
Wegmans was noted to be the top performer in terms of absolute number of products on shelf, with 530 products available, including twice as many plant-based meat products and four times as many cheese products as most other top retailers.
In terms of merchandising, the report cited that 91 percent of retailers shelved plant-based products alongside their conventional counterparts in at least two categories, and 65 percent offered at least one plant-based meat product in the meat aisle. Giant Food shelved multiple products alongside their animal-based counterparts in 10 out of 11 product categories.
Despite this progress, the report identified opportunities for retailers to further integrate plant-based foods with their conventional counterparts across all categories and to adopt inclusive “plant-based” or “plant-protein” language in signage to appeal to all customers.
“Top US retailers are ensuring that all Americans have access to delicious and affordable plant-based meat, eggs, and dairy. We are reaching a clear tipping point, and no retailer wants to lose out to competitors with better plant-based strategies,” said GFI Executive Director, Bruce Friedrich.
“Traditional meat eaters and flexitarians are embracing plant-based products, which means it is critical for retailers to employ plant-based strategies that attract the mainstream consumer. Plant-based eating is no longer niche. Retailers are leaving money on the table when they isolate plant-based sets in hard-to-find sections or use exclusive category language like ‘vegetarian’,” added GFI Associate Director of Corporate Engagement, Caroline Bushnell.