Kroger launching plant based private label range; testing category location

Date : 11 September 2019

Keshia Beadle

Senior Retail Analyst

Kroger will launch its own range of meatless and plant based products under its Simple Truth private label brand. It is also partnering with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) to determine the impact to plant-based products, conventional meat sales and customer engagement through locating plant-based products in the meat aisle.

Increasing demand from consumers

Across North America, the demand for alternatives to animal products continues to grow, including shoppers who eat meat but are keen to reduce their consumption for health or environmental reasons. Kroger already sells a range of meat alternatives from Beyond Meat, a fast growing company which became known for creating non-meat burgers which 'bleed'. By developing its own private label range in this category, Kroger is recognizing the opportunity for growth and signifying its commitment to offering customers a broader choice in this area.

Source: Kroger

The growth of Simple Truth

Simple Truth is the leading natural and organic brand in the USA and continues to grow at a rapid rate. By anticipating the changing needs of shoppers and responding quickly and flexibly, the brand resonates well with customers and supports their goals for a healthier lifestyle. With shoppers increasingly exploring alternatives to meat and dairy products, the new range will offer a variety of options including meat free burgers and sausages, as well as products such as dairy free cream cheese and cookie dough.

Packaging will feature an icon that helps customers to easily identify the range in-store and products will start being rolled out this month and continue into 2020. They will be stocked alongside meat and dairy products, giving shoppers of these products an alternative which is easy to spot.

Partnering with Plant Based Foods Association

Kroger has also announced it will partner with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) to trial an extended plant based cabinet within its meat department in 60 stores. The trial will run for 20 weeks and Kroger will gather data analytics through its 84.51° subsidiary in order to understand the impact it has on customer demand in the category. This will allow it to develop the most appropriate merchandising and communication strategy going forward.

Increased awareness could drive higher sales

Historically, plant-based meat products have been located adjacent to fresh produce ranges and in the frozen aisle. However, as new ranges have come to the market over the last two years, there has been a drive by several brands to locate their products in the conventional meat aisle. There is an expectation that positioning them as direct alternatives will help to drive awareness and sales. As plant-based ranges continue to grow, this test is likely to have an impact in multiple categories.

Mainstream offer

With several retailers and suppliers including Loblaw, Aldi and Kellogg's making investments in this space, the rapid growth of the market is forecast to continue and may soon become a mainstream choice for shoppers, much like organic has. Earlier this year, leading Canadian retailer Loblaw launched its own private label plant based range across a number of categories and Kellogg's will launch a new line in 2020, Incogmeato, which will be merchandised alongside meat in stores.

Source: IGD Research (Giant Heirloom Market, Philadelphia)

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