Store brands lead the pack in plant-based foods
If you get the Store Brands newsletter, you’re getting five new news stories a day (not weekends, of course, football’s on) and to the writers here scouring for and generating this content, it seems like every other story is on a plant-based private brand.
So it was during a typical search for news where I stumbled across this headline in a business magazine that covers the vegan foods industry, “Plant Based Companies Must Look to Innovation and Marketing to Compete With Supermarkets.”
What struck me in the headline is the clear call to action that supermarkets are leading the category. The Vegconomist article goes on to address how retailers and their plant-based private brand lines are leading and that manufacturers are following. The article quotes an editor at research firm GlobalData saying plant-based brands need to develop marketing campaigns and innovations to compete with the “retail own label offensive.” It’s war!
The article focuses on the U.K. market, which celebrates January as veganuary — an awareness campaign that challenges consumers to go vegan for a month — so the category is important to consumers across the pond, where retailers are capitalizing on the plant-based craze. Asda launched its 48-product line of store brand plant-based foods. Retailer Co-op added its Gro line of vegan and plant-based items. Tesco announced its Wicked Kitchen line last year, and Aldi has a huge line of items, too.
But clearly this isn’t just a U.K. thing either (nor is veganuary, which is reportedly entering the U.S. next year).
Kroger is dominating the plant-based market under its Simple Truth brand. The retailer just launched Emerge to go along with an anticipated Simple Truth Plant Based line extension of 50 products. Emerge, with a pretty stellar logo, is a meat-alternative extension with patties and grind with 20 grams of pea-based protein.
Other U.S. retailers are out in front with their own plant-based lines too, including Albertsons, Wegmans Food Markets and Aldi in the U.S. Trader Joe's launches plant-based meat patties later this month.
Likely, these retailers will continue to innovate in this category to maintain its lead or its “offensive,” so while the news is hot right now with launches and plant-based headlines, the year ahead will be very interesting to see how retailers maintain the lead and how consumers connect.