Sometimes we think it would be so great to have a whole section of the super market devoted to plant-based or meatless products, but a new report shows that sales of plant-based meat alternatives increased by 23% when they're tucked into the meat department, according to a study from the Plant Based Foods Association and Kroger.

The test measured sales over a 12-week period right before the panicked buying spurred by the widespread pandemic, at 60 stores in Colorado, Indiana and Illinois. In the Midwest, "where more flexitarians are emerging, sales of plant-based meat alternatives increased 32% compared to control stores" during the same timeframe, Food Business News reports." In the Denver area, which already had a large concentration of plant-based consumers, sales were 13% higher," the article states.

“This research proves that it is important for retailers to place plant-based meat where shoppers expect to find it: in the meat department. Other retailers are sure to make this change with this new data in hand," says Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships at the Plant Based Foods Association.

“The increase in sales in the Midwest demonstrates there is tremendous opportunity for plant-based meats to succeed everywhere, including in the nation’s heartland.”

Kroger reports that its plant-based meat sales have remained strong, FBN reports. In fact the company said it saw an uptick of 50% more new plant-based consumers between March and June compared to the previous year, during the time when shoppers were stockpiling supplies to be ready for the possible food shortages that were touted during the pandemic months of sheltering in place. Those months also witnessed a 75 percent growth in sales of plant-based meat at Kroger stores. So people were stocking up on meatless options.

“As plant-based meat sales continue to grow, with sales increasing even more rapidly compared to pre-pandemic levels, this research becomes even more compelling for retailers to locate plant-based meats in the meat section if they want to maximize sales by reaching more consumers,” Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association told Food Business News.  Read the full story here. 

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