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Shopping for plant-based meat? Check the meat department

Shopping for plant-based meat? Check the meat department
[Photo: courtesy of Beyond Meat]

Where’s the plant-based beef?

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In the grocery store’s animal-meat department—if you want to increase sales, that is.

A new study released by the supermarket chain Kroger and the Plant Based Foods Association finds that sales for such products jump 23% when they are sold near real meat.

The data is a result of a 12-week test done with refrigerated plant-based meat in 60 Kroger stores in Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana between December 2019 and this past February.

“This research proves that it is important for retailers to place plant-based meat where shoppers expect to find it: in the meat department,” Julie Emmett, PBFA’s senior director of retail partnerships, said in a written statement.

Plant-based milks, such as oat milk, soy milk, and almond milk, have long been sold in the dairy departments of most supermarkets in the U.S.

During the Kroger experiment, sales jumped 32% in the Midwest, where flexitarianism is growing. In the Denver area, where Kroger operates stores under the King Soopers banner, plant-based diets are more common and sales grew 13% over the control stores.

Plant-based meat sales in the United States totaled $939 million in 2019, up from $682 million in 2017, according to the Good Food Institute, a not-for-profit that works in the industry.

This kind of faux meat isn’t just in your fridge at home. Fast-food chains have embraced the trend from the Impossible Whopper at Burger King to the Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage Sandwich to the vegan spicy chorizo at Blaze Pizza.

“This test provides one more proof point that plant-based meats have moved from niche to mainstream,” Sean Brislin, merchandising director at Kroger, said.

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