My name is Jen Jacobs and I am PBFA’s retail partnership manager. Last week, PBFA and Kroger co-hosted the first-ever virtual VegFest for Kroger employees. I was proud to play a leading role in this virtual event with our partner Kroger, the largest retailer in the United States with nearly 3,000 supermarkets nationwide. We were lucky to have over 80 participants join us for the virtual event. 

Ann Beaty, e-commerce business manager at Kroger, opened the event, and then I gave a brief overview of PBFA. We were lucky to have our own Board Member and Founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, Miyoko Schinner present a live cooking demo. Miyoko prepared a pasta dish with fresh grilled vegetables and her own mozzarella to show Kroger employees just how easy it can be to make delicious plant-based meals. 

Next, PBFA members introduced some of their plant-based foods to Kroger employees in quick videos spotlighting their brands and diverse offerings. Our 18 members who participated in the videos and event this year were: Coconut Cloud, Daiya, Field Roast, Hungry Planet, Kite Hill, Lightlife, Malk, Miyoko’s Creamery, Munchy Crunchy Protein, No Evil Foods, O’MY Dairy Free Gelato, Ozo, The Happy Vegan, Unisoy Jerky, Violife, Wayfare, and Wonderlab Doozy Pots. 

Finally, PBFA and Kroger co-presented results from their recent study on plant-based meat placement in the meat aisle. The study found that plant-based meat sales increased an average of 23% when sold in the meat department! Julie Emmett, PBFA’s senior director of retail partnerships led the presentation. The Kroger team provided additional insights, starting with an overview from Marcellus Harris, assistant commodity manager- poultry,followed by Jessica Mahan, lead business development consultant for Kroger 84.51.

The event was organized by my myself and Julie, in collaboration with Marcellus Harris and Ann Beaty, who were both wonderful to work with. Ann and Marcellus also expressed positive feedback about the event: 

VegFest 2020 was our first virtual event. It was exciting, informative and hit all the benchmarks needed to make it a relevant and must-attend event. The phenomenal cooking demonstration, supplier introduction video and industry trends presentation were bundled in a well-paced and easy to follow format. The overwhelmingly positive associate feedback showcases that VegFest 2020 was a huge success. Partnering with the PBFA to put this event together has proven, once again, to be the right choice as we work to continue to educate and elevate awareness of available plant-based options.”- Marcellus Harris, Assistant Commodity Manager of Poultry for Kroger

“VegFest 2020 was a great success! We received a ton of positive feedback on the event, despite it being our first time executing a virtual, instead of in-person, version. Our associates were very engaged with the cooking demo and are excited to try the supplier offers that were shared. The PBFA did a phenomenal job planning and executing the event!”- Ann Beaty, E-Commerce Business Manager at Kroger

In addition, PBFA members reported a very positive experience:

“It was a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of innovative, plant-based options that are available in the market and that are giving conventional products a run for their money. – Lauren Durso, Coconut Cloud, Managing Director

“We were thrilled to participate in the Kroger’s Virtual VegFest because we love sharing our passion for plant-based foods, including our Notcho Nocheez, with people who are interested in exploring delicious and healthier food options!”- Sharon Gregory, Owner, The Happy Vegan

“VegFest is an impactful way to continue bringing plant-based brands like ours into the mainstream and grow this hot category with hungry flexitarian consumers.” – Jody Boyman, Co-Founder + Chief Purpose Officer of Hungry Planet

“No Evil Foods is proud to participate and express our joint values. It’s great to connect with other brands and PBFA always helps put forward engaging (and fun) presentations!”- Matt Palomares, VP of Marketing, No Evil Foods 

Huge thanks to all of our wonderful members who participated in this year’s VegFest. We look forward to co-hosting a VegFest with Kroger again, hopefully in person, again next year! 

Want a glimpse into the awesome event? 

  • To watch the panel discussing industry trends and PBFA and Kroger’s recent study on plant-based meat placement, click here
  • To watch PBFA member introductions, which spotlight the brands and their delicious offerings, click here