“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,” says Ari Akseli, Vice President for Commerce, Kesko's grocery trade division.
“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,” says Akseli.
For example, sales of plant-based protein products, to which Nyhtökaura and Härkis belong, are estimated to have increased in volume by 20% compared to the previous year. Compared to two years ago, sales of plant-based protein products are estimated to have increased by 50%.
The vege shelf is found next to the meat department
The vege shelf is situated in or near the meat sections of stores so as many customers as possible can find easily find the products. The vege shelves are easily recognisable due to the green banding and the “Vege” text and signs.
“Thanks to the vege shelves, a growing number of customers have found plant-based protein products, which further raises their sales,” says the man who developed the “vegehylly” (“vege shelf”) concept Jani Tynkkynen, Department Manager.
Customers can ask that their own K-food store sets up a vege shelf if it currently lacks one. Furthermore, retailers will listen with pleasure to customer suggestions for developing the selection of products available in the vege shelves.
Growth in sales of plant-based protein products in K-food stores over the last year (measured in volume)
• Non-dairy milks, sales growth compared to last year + 47%
• Non-dairy creams, sales growth compared to last year + 63%
• Non-dairy yoghurts, sales growth compared to last year + 56%
• Non-dairy puddings, sales growth compared to last year + 26%
• Tofu, sales growth compared to last year + 13%
• All frozen vegan products (like soya steaks, falafels, vegetable burgers), sales growth compared to last year + 41%
• Hummus and falafel products – sales grew by 305%
• Sales of vegan ice cream dipped by 5%
As new products, the sales development of Nyhtökaura and Härkis products has been really strong, several hundred percent. New vege products on sale in recent years also include Quorn and Oumph! – brands that have already established their position in the vege food range and whose sales continue to grow steadily.
Examples of new kinds of vegan products include pasta made from lentils, beans and chickpeas, which is a substitute for normal pasta that contains eggs. Such products have been added to the range of K-stores in recent years and although sales of vegan substitutes for pasta are small, they are growing.