The surge in thepopularity of plant-based food has prompted grocery stores to question where the product should be placed in stores. Some put plant-based food in its own section, but grocery chain Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) is convinced it belongs right next to fresh meat.
What Happened: Kroger partnered with the Plant Based Foods Association for a 12-week pilot program at 60 stores to evaluate how consumers react to plant-based meat alternatives being placed next to their protein counterparts, Forbes reported.
The results are clear: sales of plant-based meats rose by 23% at test stores compared to stores nearby where plant-based foods were displayed elsewhere.
Consumers have shown a willingness to eat more plant-based alternatives, especially when they are easier to find, PBFA's senior director of retail partnerships Julie Emmett told Forbes.
Why It's Important: One of the main factors required for continued growth for the plant-based food industry is to attract non-vegans.
Plant-based food makers are well aware of this and market their products to meat eaters or "flexitarians" looking for new products or healthier alternatives on occasion.
These consumers won't necessarily go out of their way to find plant-based alternatives if they are out of sight in their own freezer or section.
"This test provides one more proof point that plant-based meats have moved from niche to mainstream," Kroger merchandising director Sean Brislin said in a statement.
"Kroger continues to experience double-digit growth in the plant-based category, and this test demonstrates the viability of shifting product placements to reach even more customers."
What's Next: Kroger and PBFA's study marks one of the first pieces of large-scale research and testing dedicated to figuring out optimal merchandising moving forward for plant-based food.
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Public domain photo via Wikimedia.
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