Kroger is a company that does not shy away from innovation or experimentation. The retailer has begun testing new formats that put convenience at the forefront, and has also embraced the plant-based food trend, most recently launching the vegan JUST Egg product in thousands of its stores. Now, Kroger is stepping even further into plant-based territory with plans to test out a dedicated plant-based meat section with help from the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA).
"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," said Julie Emmett, Senior Director of Retail Partnerships for PBFA. "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."
The new department will be a subsection of the retailer’s standard meat departments. Kroger will be testing the new department over 20 weeks in 60 of its stores across Denver, Colorado; Indiana; and Illinois, according to Food & Wine. The locations were chosen to reach a wide enough range of customers to generate comprehensive data to inform Kroger of the new department’s effect on overall sales.
"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," Marcellus Harris, Assistant Commodity Manager in the meat department for Kroger, commented.
Will the new meat department direction prove a success for Kroger? Will other retailers retaliate with their own plant-based sections? Deli Market News will report.