Here’s a rocket for you. According to Fast Company, a study conducted by Kroger, one of America’s largest grocery chains, and the Plant Based Foods Association found that when refrigerated plant-based meats are displayed in the meat section of a grocery store, sales increased by 23% on average. The data was collected over a 12 week period between December, 2019 and February of this year.
“This research proves that it is important for retailers to place plant-based meat where shoppers expect to find it — in the meat department,” Julie Emmett, PBFA’s senior director of retail partnerships, said in a written statement. “This test provides one more proof point that plant-based meats have moved from niche to mainstream,” Sean Brislin, merchandising director at Kroger, said.
During the Kroger experiment, sales jumped 32% in the Midwest, where flexitarianism is growing. In the Denver area, where Kroger operates stores under the King Soopers banner, plant-based diets are more common and sales grew 13% over the control stores. Plant-based meat sales in the United States totaled $939 million in 2019, up from $682 million in 2017, according to the Good Food Institute, a not-for-profit that works in the industry.
Many fast food restaurants now offer plant-based meat on their menus. The Impossible Whopper at Burger King is selling well, as is the Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage Sandwich. Blaze Pizza now offers vegan spicy chorizo as one of the toppings customers can select.
The Coronavirus Boosts Plant-Based Meat Sales
It’s no secret that coronavirus infections have exploded at America’s meat packing facilities. The fear of possibly contracting the virus from infected meat has caused a huge increase in the amount of plant-based meat being sold in the US. (Note: If you have any concerns about the safety of the beef, pork, and chicken you are consuming, never, ever visit one of these factories under any circumstances).
The Verge, reporting on a Nielsen survey covered by the Wall Street Journal, says grocery store sales of products like Beyond Meat and Tofurky were up 264% during a nine week period ending on May 2nd. The popularity of faux meat exploded starting in March, with sales of fresh meat alternatives surging 206% the first week of March and rising 279% the week ending on March 14th, according to Nielsen.
This is all good news for people and the planet, as study after study has shown that the meat industry has a major impact on global heating due to the amount of carbon dioxide and methane emitted by the animals being raised (not to mention the unspeakable cruelty the industry inflicts on the defenseless animals.) Of course, harvesting the methane from pig waste could give a whole new meaning to the term “natural gas.”
As an aside, I recently tried a plant-based burger at a local restaurant for the first time and found it delicious — although, to be fair, any patty smothered in onions, tomatoes, and cheese is a most agreeable meal. When Jimmy Buffett sang about a “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” he didn’t necessarily mean it had to be made of beef.