Vegetarian foods have rapidly increased in popularity during the past year. Growth has been seen in several product groups, including vegan ice creams, non-dairy milks as well as soy and bean products. On average, the sales of plant-based protein products have grown some 25% from last year.
“We now have many new plant-based protein products available. The publicity generated by pulled oats has increased the popularity of other plant-based protein products, as well. Simultaneously, there is the current health trend that has clearly had an effect on the demand for these products,” says Vice President for Commerce, Kesko's grocery trade division, Ari Akseli.
K-food stores pilot vegetarian sections – sales of plant-based protein products as much as doubled
As demand grows, K-food stores want to make vegetarian foods more accessible and easier to find. This is done by gathering all plant-based protein products in their own section. The vegetarian section is located next to or near meat products to make it easy for even more customers to find the products easily. The vegetarian section is marked with green adhesive signs.
“The popularity of vegetarian foods has increased particularly among omnivores. However, plant protein products are often scattered in various parts of the store, and not all customers are familiar with them. By collecting them all in one place we want to encourage our customers to try out new products and find alternatives to traditional meat products,” says Akseli.
The vegetarian section has been piloted in K-supermarket Nurmijärvi and K-citymarket Pirkkala. If customers like the solution, vegetarian sections will be implemented widely in K-food stores.
“The initial reaction to the vegetarian section has been very positive. We already grouped plant protein products together early this year. Even though we didn't have the special signs to mark the vegetarian section in place yet, the sales of the products went up during the beginning of the year. For example, the sales of soy and oat milks almost doubled,” says retailer Minna Astikainen from K-supermarket Nurmijärvi.
Pulled oats joined by new soy protein product that drives Swedes wild
New plant-based protein products are regularly added in stores' selections. In addition to pulled oats, K-food stores now have new Oumph! soy protein products. These frozen vegan products are made of soybeans and are available both unflavoured and flavoured with various spices. The products have been very popular in Sweden, and they have been received well in Finland also. At the moment, Oumph! products are only available in K-food stores.
This is how the sales of plant protein products have increased in K-food stores:
• Non-dairy milks, sales up +29% from last year
• Non-dairy creams, sales up +40% from last year
• Non-dairy yoghurts, sales up +30% from last year
• Beans, sales up +16% from last year
• Tofus, sales up +30% from last year
• Quorn products, sales up +30% during the beginning of the year
• All frozen vegan products (including soy cutlets, falafels, vegetable patties, etc.), sales up +24% from last year
• Some hummus and falafel products, sales doubled from last year
In addition, K-food stores have added new products in their selections, such as vegan ice creams and vegetable pies, that have seen a high demand since the beginning of the year.