The Kroger Co.—the largest supermarket chain in the United States—will add a three-foot vegan meat display case inside of the meat department at 60 test stores in Denver, and parts of Indiana and Illinois over a 20-week period. The initiative is part of a collaboration with trade group Plant Based Food Association (PBFA)—which represents more than 150 plant-based food companies—to ascertain consumer purchasing habits. During the trial period, Kroger data analytics subsidiary 84.51° will use its sophisticated technology to turn consumer data into actionable knowledge.
“We are thrilled to partner with Kroger on this innovative and exciting project. Plant-based meat sales have been increasing dramatically year over year, even while most of them are placed where only the most dedicated consumers are likely to find and purchase them,” Julie Emmett, PBFA senior director of retail partnerships, said. “We are confident that this test will demonstrate that plant-based meat sales will increase even more when consumers have easier access to them. We applaud Kroger for taking the lead on plant-based meat merchandising, and we are confident that the outcome will be a win for retailers, suppliers, and especially for consumers.” Companies such as Beyond Meat have previously attempted to be placed in the meat department in order to attract consumers that also purchase meat to sample its plant-based products and this study will provide valuable data about whether such placement is desirable.
“We’re excited to team up with the PBFA to study this category,” Marcellus Harris, assistant commodity manager in the meat department for Kroger, said. “The test, which emerged from our partnership with PBFA, will allow us to unearth rich insight regarding how to best merchandise the category and connect with consumers.” The data collected during the 20-week test will be used to inform retailers and the plant-based industry about how to market and display plant-based products in-store. Last week, Kroger announced it is adding a variety of vegan products to its proprietary Simple Truth brand, including Black Forest Ham, Meatless Grinds, French Onion Dip, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.