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Waitrose and Bupa have entered an exclusive partnership to offer shoppers a range of health services in-store.

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Waitrose launches a new range of vegetarian products and Holland & Barrett announce plans to roll out a vegan chain of stores.

Waitrose: expanding its vegetarian and vegan offer

Waitrose is set to expand its vegan and vegetable range of products by 60%, to include products such as Waitrose own-brand Sweet Potato Stacks and Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.

Among the 50 new products are two exclusive brands. The Happy Pear, created by plant-based chefs David and Stephen Flynn and The Vegetarian Burger, a Dutch company specialising in meat substitutes.

The exclusive brands will be positioned within the retailer's new dedicated vegan section, designed to make its stores easier to shop for vegans and vegetarians.

Our Shopper Vista research reveals that 11% of British grocery shoppers are interested in purchasing vegan products and this increases to 22% amongst 25-34 year olds.

The move will help to cater for growing demand of vegan or vegetarian products amongst shoppers.  

The range will launch in 125 Waitrose branches on Monday 4th June.

Chloe Graves, Waitrose Chilled Vegetarian and Vegan Buyer commented on the launch “Increasing our range builds on the work we did last year to increase choice for our customers in this area. We are working with some fantastic exclusive brands to ensure our shoppers have a really unique selection of food to choose from.”

Holland & Barrett: plans for new vegan stores

Health specialist Holland & Barrett has announced plans to open a chain of fully vegan stores.

As a well-established health specialist with lots of high street locations, the retailer is well positioned to cater for the needs of health-conscious consumers.

The announcement comes during National Vegetarian Week, and follows the launch of health and beauty specialist Superdrug’s vegan beauty pop-up shop.

Jamie Oliver goes vegetarian

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has launched a brand new vegetarian and vegan menu at his chain of restaurants to mark the event.

The move follows his ongoing work with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on the 'Veg Power' project.

International trend: retailer activities in Sweden and the Netherlands

In the Netherlands retailers and suppliers are supporting the country’s first 'week without meat' campaign.

In Sweden retailer Axfood has also further extended its range of vegetarian products. This follows its 2017 trial of repositioning its vegetarian alternatives next to its meat products in 20 of its branches. The strategy led to an increase in sales of vegetarian products and has now been rolled out to all 190 branches.

Two initiatives add excitement to the retailer's counter offer over the summer.

Premium deli pop-up

In Richmond, Waitrose exclusive brand "unearthed" is popping up at the deli counter, offering premium food-for-now and food-for-later products.

Special features include hand carved Jamóón, freshly ground coffee, and an olive bar on ice. Waitrose will be hosting samplings and meet the producer evenings to showcase the products and their provenance. 

Grain & Graze pop-up

In Salisbury, the brand Merchant Gourmet has partnered with Waitrose to offer healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options featuring grains and pulses. The counter also offers recipe inspiration for recreating dishes at home.

The initiative first launched as a pop-up restaurant in London in a space that also hosts cooking demonstrations, master classes and supper clubs. 

Our view

These new developments are an interesting extension of the retailer's activities in food service and health. Earlier this year Waitrose boosted its range of artisanal deli products in a selection of stores, including brands not previously available to buy at supermarkets. The unearthed pop-up will help maximise the opportunity for customer engagement in this area of the store.

Waitrose identified plant proteins as a key trend for 2018 in its annual food and drink report. Showcasing this food group in ready to eat meals provides an easy, healthy option, and will further differentiate the retailer's food service proposition.   


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Both retailers launch new food-focused advertising, and a new initiative from M&S encourages colleagues to communicate about their favourite food hall products.

Waitrose's "Beautifully Simple" meal solutions

The grocer's new campaign encourages people to cook with its simple recipes. Each of these includes a limited number of ingredients and three steps to complete. Products and recipes cards are located together in-store, offering  an easy solution for shoppers seeking dinner-time inspiration.

Waitrose's September advertising campaign had a dual focus on the price and quality of its "essentials" products, but this new campaign shifts the emphasis from value to inspiration. The tagline "Great food is simple when you start with the best" continues to position Waitrose as a destination for quality, everyday products.

Marks and Spencer shines the spotlight on food standards

Beef takes the starring role in M&S's new campaign, as the retailer emphasises its British sourcing and the ability to trace every piece of beef it seeks back to the farm and animal it is sourced from.

The "We trace it, so you can trust it" campaign will also be backed by interactive supply chain maps showing every farm that supplies M&S. The retailer explains its unique standards include DNA sampling, provided by a Dublin-based tech company. 

This is the first food campaign since the restructure of M&S's marketing functions, and appointment divisional food and clothing and home marketing directors. This change is reflected in a move away from the "Spend it Well" campaigns, to a more food-focused approach.

New food marketing director Sharry Cramond commented she'd been amazed at the stories behind M&S's products and this was an "important first step in shining a spotlight on [M&S's] unrivalled food standards".

"My M&S favourite" campaign

As part of a new customer engagement campaign, 53,000 M&S colleagues in over 1,000 stores will wear personalised badges declaring their favourite food products. The retailer's research reveals that personal recommendations are a top factor in influencing purchases, and 90% of customers are more likely to buy something that's been recommended to them.

Personalisation is a hot topic in retail, often discussed in the context of data and algorithms. While this simple idea takes a more traditional approach, it has the potential for wide-reaching impact, creating new talking points between colleagues and customers.


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