The Kroger Co. and the Plant Based Foods Association are debuting a retail concept in 60 stores across two divisions and three geographies, including Denver and parts of Indiana and Illinois. The concept will test plant-based items merchandised in the meat department for 20 weeks to determine the impact to plant-based and conventional meat sales and customer engagement.
The selected stores have a diverse customer base to enable representative and scalable data. The test is being conducted in partnership with Cincinnati-based Kroger's data analytics subsidiary, 84.51 degrees, which uses a sophisticated, proprietary suite of tools and technology to turn customer data into actionable knowledge.
“We’re excited to team up with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) to study this category,” said Marcellus Harris, assistant meat department commodity manager for Kroger. “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 results will help guide all retailers with merchandising and marketing decisions when it comes to plant-based foods.
“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,” said Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships for the San Francisco-based Plant Based Foods Association.
The research project follows the news that Kroger is launching its own plant-based private label products as an offshoot of its Simple Truth brand.