Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Sell Better When Sold Beside Meat

Good news for Impossible Burger fans

"Impossible Burger" and "Beyond Meat" packages
Packages of "Impossible Burger" and "Beyond Meat" sit on a shelf for sale on November 15, 2019 in New York City.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
By Tobias Carroll / July 10, 2020 1:42 pm

For years, if you were looking for a meatless alternative to burgers or sausages in your local grocery store, you’d generally find them in their own dedicated section. For the most part, this made sense — the target audience for these likely ate a vegetarian or vegan diet, and wouldn’t be in the market for ground beef or something similar.

Today, however, the target audience for products like the Impossible Burger isn’t just people who have opted out of eating meat — it’s anyone who’s looking to consume less meat, period. That could mean a lifelong vegetarian, or it could just be someone cutting back on red meat for their health. With that in mind, it’s not surprising to learn — via an article by Nic Querolo at Bloomberg — that meat alternatives sell better when sold beside meat itself.

Querolo’s article is based on a study of purchases made at 60 Kroger stores in 3 states. And the results are hard to argue with:

Consumers purchased 23% more plant-based meat on average when the products were moved into the traditional meat aisle, according to a study conducted by Kroger Co. and supported by the Plant Based Foods Association.

Plant-based alternatives to meat have been selling better during the pandemic than in the past. The article notes increases in the amount of meat alternatives sold both nationwide and at Kroger locations. While it’s not quite the same thing, it raises the question of whether we might not see a similar legal tussle to the recent one between dairy producers and companies making plant-based milk alternatives.

The results of this study suggest that the audience for meat alternatives is larger than one might expect — or at the very least, that a substantial number of shoppers are curious to try something new.

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