• Vegshelf

3 Reasons Why You Should Extend Plant-based Food Options in Your Retail Store

Consumer choosing plant-based foods & beverages in store.
Consumer choosing plant-based foods & beverages in store. Image by Boxed Water Is Better via Unsplash.

In just a few short years, plant-based food alternatives have grown from specialty items to hot consumer packaged goods (CPG) that are must haves at large European supermarket chains and independent stores alike. If you're still debating whether to expand your store's vegan food product assortment, well, you should, and, here's why:

1. Plant-based Market Growth

What was once on the fringes, now is mainstream and shows no signs of stopping. Global vegan food product market size valued at $14.2 billion, is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 10.5%, according to Allied Market Research. Western Europe, with Germany, France, UK, and Italy at its front, are leading the way by reaching strong $40 billion in vegan and vegetarian product sales in 2018, according to Euromonitor.

That's right, plant-based product sales are growing at double digits across most categories, yet there is one segment that stands out in particular - meat alternatives. In the UK alone, plant-based meat sales reached $400 million in 2018 capturing solid 12% of the global market, according to Euromonitor.

How plant-based foods got so popular, you may ask? It's flexitarians driving the change - people who mix both animal- and plant-based diets, yet are intentionally trying to reduce their meat consumption because of health and environment, among other reasons. The very fact that the plant-based market is driven by your average customer who likes and eats meat occasionally is a huge change that you as a shop owner or retail category manager do not want to ignore in order to stay competitive.

2. Seamless and unique experience for customers

Growing demand for plant-based food alternatives presents a great opportunity for retailers to build customer loyalty and ensure repeat business by offering a wide and continuously updated assortment of high-quality and delicious vegan products.

One of the top reasons why retailers can't keep their customers in the store is because of not meeting their expectations and lacking products their shoppers are looking for. Reversing that by analyzing customer preferences and market penetration ratios of various plant-based food categories is key. Recent Consumer Survey by Proveg shows that, for instance, Danes purchase the most plant-based butter/margarine, while consuming the least plant-based yoghurt.

Plant-based product consumption rate in Europe. Vegshelf.
Plant-based product consumption rate in Europe. Data by ProVeg International.

When people want to see more alternatives that would cater to their flexitarian lifestyle, food manufacturers listen and respond. Hence, in the last couple of years, the vegan food category has seen enormous product innovation with new players entering and shaking up the European retail and foodservice. Thankfully, today finding and getting in touch with retail-ready emerging plant-based CPG brands can be easily done via digital B2B platforms such as Vegshelf - for free and from the comfort of your office.

3. Winning more consumers by being sustainable

Topics such as climate change, animal welfare and environmental crisis are on a constant roll on the news and media. And, consumers everywhere are listening and becoming more aware of how their everyday purchases, including groceries, impact the world around them.

Especially important sustainability is for younger adults - customer group that's well-informed, value-driven and care about healthy food, animal welfare and environmental impacts of products they buy. Not surprisingly, millennials are also the key driving demographic of the plant-based market. “The demand for plant-based products has grown at an astounding rate and will most likely continue as more and more consumers become environmentally and health-conscious.” Tesco’s plant-based buying manager said in a statement for Plant Based News.

Hence, sustainability sells. However, to translate it into real opportunity, one must move beyond words into actual practice. With plant-based foods being the most promising solution for feeding the world sustainably, it presents a great chance for you as a retailer. By offering an innovative assortment of vegan products you will not only be seen as a future-oriented and sustainable company in the eyes of your consumers, it will also help you to stand strong against competition.

Let's wrap it up!

Plant-based food industry from specialty items has grown into the mainstream with flexitarian customers driving the demand.

So, what does it mean to you as a product category buyer or store owner willing to further grow your company's business? The consumer shift towards plant-based diets presents a great opportunity for you as a retailer, where expanding your vegan food assortment by allocating more shelf-space is essential.

That way you will not only benefit from the rapidly growing market, but also establish yourself as an up-to-date and sustainable company in the eyes of existing and new customers. How will you take advantage of this opportunity? Tell us in the comments below or write us to hello@vegshelf.com.

To discover plant-based products for your store and directly inquire with innovative plant-based food product manufacturers, register here. Also, to stay up to date to the latest insights on retail and CPG trends and insights, follow us on Linkedin.