Finland supermarket chain Kesko is set to introduce specific areas dedicated to meat-free foods due to the strong growth in plant-based options.
The new shelves will be branded in green to make it easier for consumers to identify where the plant-based options are, and located next to the meat aisle to clearly set it up in direct competition with the meat products.
The chain’s Vice President for Commerce, Ari Akseli, said: “Sales of plant-based protein products in K-food stores have grown strongly in recent years. Growth has taken place in a number of product categories, including vegetable protein products, vegan ice cream, non-dairy milks as well as soy and bean products.
“Vegetarian food made an especially strong breakthrough in Finland last year and the ‘vege’ shelves corresponded excellently with changes in consumer habits. Because we received so much good feedback from our customers about the ‘vege’ shelf experiment, the concept quickly spread throughout Finland.”
There has been a strong contrast in growth for various vegan products in comparison to last year. Frozen plant-based items are up 41% more than last year, with a 47% increase for non-dairy milks and a 63% increase for creams. Hummus and falafel products are the biggest winners though, with a gigantic 305% increase in sales compared to last year.
The department manager who developed the idea, Jani Tynkkynen, said: “Thanks to the ‘vege’ shelves, a growing number of customers have found plant-based protein products, which further raises their sales.”
Kesko are encouraging customers to recommend product ideas to them and to ask their local store to set up a ‘vege’ shelf if it doesn’t yet have one.
The company plan to next introduce vegan alternatives to fresh pasta — which often contains egg — instead making them with lentils, beans and chickpeas.