- Now through Dec. 2, Lucky Supermarkets, a subsidiary of The Save Mart Companies, is partnering with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) to educate shoppers about plant-based foods in their 70 Northern California stores.
- Through education and promotion, the stores are working to help customers discover 16 plant-based food brands: Almond Breeze, Beyond Meat, Califia Farms, Daiya Foods, Follow Your Heart, Forager, Good Karma Foods, Lightlife Foods, Milkadamia, Morningstar Farms, NadaMoo!, Pure Blends, Quorn, Ripple Foods, Sweet Earth and Tofurky. The slogan for the campaign is "Fall in Love with Plant Based."
- Michele Simon, executive director of PBFA, said this campaign can show people that there is a plant-based option for everyone. "We were pleasantly surprised to see so many PBFA member brands already offered at Lucky stores, and now we want everyone to discover them, from plant-based milks, to yogurt, to cheeses, to many varieties of meat,” Simon said.
Plant-based eating is no longer a niche diet, it is a movement spreading across the industry that is reimagining the way consumers look at food. This new campaign could introduce even more plant-based foods to consumers who are open to trying them and looking to change their diet.
According to HealthFocus International data, 17% of U.S. consumers aged 15 to 70 currently claim to eat a predominately plant-based diet, while 60% report to be cutting back on meat-based products. Even more significant is that more than half said they plan to make this lifestyle change permanent.
There are many reasons behind this shift. From environmental concerns to clean eating trends, every consumer has a different reason for putting more fruits and vegetables on their plates. However, one thing that has indisputably pushed this movement into the mainstream is the amount of innovation that has occurred in the past several years. As manufacturers get better at imitating meat's appearance, texture and taste, more meat lovers are warming up to the idea of substituting animal products for plant-based. Currently, the gold standard of this innovation is the Impossible Burger, a vegetarian burger patty that sizzles and bleeds on the grill like real beef. But with so much interest in this category, it won't be long before options for hyper-real meat substitutes become a staple on grocery store shelves.
While there is certainly no lack of education surrounding plant-based products as a general category, when it comes to specific products, things may be a little less clear for the consumer. By focusing on 16 specific brands, Lucky’s hopes to teach customers where each one could fit into their diet. Ripple Foods, who is on the list, has prioritized education on it products. Recently, the pea-based milk brand created a game that explains how its products have half the sugar and 50% more calcium than dairy milk.
At the end of the day though, it is going to be taste, not education initiatives, that keep people buying plant-based products. Although healthier options have become more important to consumers, studies have shown that taste is still a top factor when it comes to purchasing decisions. As soon as a company relies on the better-for-you claim at the expense of taste is the moment the company will likely fail to connect with people.
If Lucky can both convince their customers through education that their plant-based products both fit their lifestyle and taste just as good as the animal-based equivalents, then they may have found a winning combination. With in-store tastings and special discounts for PBFA member brands’ foods, Lucky has a chance to change minds. If they do so, grateful — and potentially healthier customers — will likely reward them with their loyalty.