Plant-based eating is more mainstream than ever, and major grocery stores are taking note. As retailers offer more plant-based options in-store and online, they are taking the time to educate their customers about these products as well to drive trial and repeat purchases .
“The data shows that, despite the challenges of the past two years, retailers and foodservice providers are meeting consumers where they are by partnering with brands across the entire store to expand space, increase assortment, and make it easier than ever to find and purchase plant-based foods,” Julie Emmett, senior director of marketplace development for the Plant Based Foods Association, said in a statement.
So how are retailers educating shoppers about plant-based foods and preparation? Grocers nationwide are turning toward online services as well as traditional print material.
“To build awareness and trial of new plant-based products, we leverage a variety of communication touchpoints, including For U offers, print ad materials highlighting taste, and influencers focused on [the] young adult, Gen Z cohort,” said Katie Ceclan, VP of brands and innovation strategy, own brands, for Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons.
Meanwhile, Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market has updated/expanded its plant-based cooler, offering a variety of plant-powered proteins that reflects the “center of the plate” mindset of plant-based shoppers, a spokesperson told WGB. Sprouts also offers a shopping list highlighting some of it most nutritious favorites to make shoppers’ next grocery shop a breeze.
Elsewhere, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee’s registered dietitians in January helped customers navigate the aisles during a complimentary virtual nutrition store tour that focused on plant-based eating, in addition to other health and wellness topics. Also in January, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart launched its Walmart Shop-by-Diet tool, which lets customers filter items based on specific dietary needs and preferences, including plant-based. Additionally, Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans offers a page strictly devoted to plant-based recipes.
Data analytics and market research company IRI reported that 37% of consumers are looking to actively reduce meat and poultry consumption. Kate Allmandinger, consultant, fresh COE, for IRI, said, “There is a huge opportunity for innovation in the produce department for more of those solution-oriented products.” Offering an example, Allmandinger said grocery retailers could have cauliflower buffalo wings in a package to showcase to shoppers as they are walking the grocery aisles looking to have more plant-based meals. Allmandinger said this is just one of many options for grocery retailers when it comes to promoting and educating shoppers on plant-based meal solutions.