San Francisco, CA—What is the best placement for plant-based meat products? In December 2019, the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) launched aplant-based meat testwith Kroger, to answer that question. The study involved 60 test stores in three states (Colorado, Indiana, and Illinois), which placed all plant-based meat in a three-foot set within the meat department. And now the results are in: PBFA announced that plant-based meat sales increased by 23% when those items were sold in the meat department.

“This test provides one more proof point that plant-based meats have moved from niche to mainstream," Sean Brislin, Merchandising Director at Kroger, said in a press release. "Kroger continues to experience double-digit growth in the plant-based category, and this test demonstrates the viability of shifting product placements to reach even more customers. We thank the Plant Based Foods Association for partnering with us on this insightful merchandising research project.”

Julie Emmett, PBFA Senior Director of Retail Partnerships, added, “This research proves that it is important for retailers to place plant-based meat where shoppers expect to find it: in the meat department. Other retailers are sure to make this change with this new data in hand.”

Taking a closer look, in the Denver area, which PBFA noted already had a high concentration of plant-based consumers, plant-based meat sales grew 13%. In the Midwest region, where PBFA said more flexitarians are emerging, plant-based meat sales were up 32% during the test period.

“The increase in sales in the Midwest demonstrates there is tremendous opportunity for plant-based meats to succeed everywhere, including in the nation’s heartland," Emmett said.
Related: Positioning Plant Protein: What’s the Best Placement? PBFA, Kroger Conduct Plant-Based Meat Test
Impact of COVID-19
PBFA shared data from Kroger suggesting that, despite changes in the food industry due to COVID-19, plant-based meat sales remain strong:
  • From March to June 2020, Kroger increased its plant-based meat customer count by more than 50% compared to last year at this time.
  • Customers purchased more often and in greater quantities than before, leading sales growth of more than 75% from March to June 2020.
PBFA added that this data mirrors the total U.S. plant-based food showing plant-based meat sales climbed61% post panic buying through the end of April.

“As plant-based meat sales continue to grow, with sales increasing even more rapidly compared to pre-pandemic levels, this research becomes even more compelling for retailers to locate plant-based meats in the meat section if they want to maximize sales by reaching more consumers,” said Michele Simon, Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association.

Get more details on the findings, including charts showcasing the results,here.
Related: FMI 2020 Report Looks at Grocery Trends Pre-, During, & Post-COVID-19 Organic Continues Double-Digit Growth