With 47 percent of Americans ages 24 to 39 following a flexitarian diet, more shoppers than ever are searching for plant-based items on grocery store shelves. However, perusing the aisles for vegan options is not the easiest tax. Now, nicknamed the “vegan amazon,” PlantX aims to lend a helping hand to plant-based and flexitarian shoppers, opening a 6,000-square-foot grocery store in Chicago. XMarket Uptown officially opened July 31, ushering in a new grocery concept for Chicago shoppers.

Replacing the Peter Rubi grocery store in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, PlantX transformed the massive supermarket into the city’s first exclusively plant-based grocery store. The new vegan supermarket stocks its shelves with a selection of otherwise hard-to-find plant-based products, ranging from ice cream to plant-based meats.

"Our carefully designed XMarket concept brings the vegan lifestyle directly to consumers in Chicago to taste, explore, and understand the plant-based lifestyle," PlantX CEO Lorne Rapkin said. "XMarket is a vegan bodega, featuring a highly curated selection of the best vegan products available from around the world as well as nearby. Our goal is to make the plant-based lifestyle accessible. Our grand opening party in Chicago was an overwhelming success. We plan to leverage the success of live events by hosting weekly events at the store."

Similar to Whole Foods, XMarket offers a selection of self-branded products. The new concept is devoted to providing a one-stop shop for plant-based customers and educating shoppers on why eating plant-based is beneficial to health and the environment. The company believes that this location is the largest plant-based grocery store in the entire world.

Several businesses including Dreampops, Kitchen 17, Good2Go Veggie, and Up-N-Down Burger joined XMarket for the opening celebration. These businesses set up booths and sampling stations to give customers a taste of plant-based foods available inside. The supermarket has scheduled weekly events from now until the end of 2022.

XMarket’s Worldwide Expansion

XMarket Uptown is the company’s second location in the United States, but the sixth brick-and-mortar location worldwide. PlantX also operates locations in Rideau, Ottawa; Squamish; Yorkdale, Toronto; Venice Beach; and Tel Aviv.

Before building out the Uptown location, XMarket’s flagship store in the United States opened in San Diego. The 4,500-square-foot location closed only months later due to issues with the property and the landlord, delaying PlantX’s expansion into the United States. Now, the Canadian company is still intent on moving forward with its physical retail business.

PlantX also partnered with Chef Matthew Kenney, who joined the company’s team as the Chief Culinary Officer. Acquiring Kenney’s vegan deli concept New Deli, PlantX grocer stores now feature the expansive deli menu. The company transformed the Venice, California location into an XMarket location that specializes in the specialty of plant-based sandwiches. The “Vegan Pop Up by XMarket” hosts several pop-ups that showcase several plant-based brands and businesses.

PlantX’s Mission to Make Plant-Based Accessible

Currently, PlantX's online shopping platform offers customers over 10,000 plant-based products. Recently partnering with Amazon Marketplace, the online vegan retailer is making plant-based, healthier, and sustainable eating more possible for consumers than ever before. While the company continues to build out its retail sector, shoppers have access to a massive portfolio of food products relatively unavailable in other stores.

This June, PlantX launched a vegan meal delivery service called XMeals in the United States. The Canadian retailer will offer a selection of chef-crafted, nutritious meals on either three- or five-day meal programs. These meals are designed by PlantX's registered dietician Amy Gensel.

"Our new XMeals website is a valuable opportunity to further build and deepen our customer relationships in the United States, as well as contribute to the well-being of our American community by facilitating their transition towards healthier eating routines," Rapkin said at the time. "Beyond boosting customer loyalty and satisfaction, we are confident that this portal will drive further business growth and success in the United States."

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