The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the trade association representing more than 150 plant-based food companies, and Kroger, the number one grocery retailer in the United States, are launching an innovative plant-based meat retail concept in 60 stores across the country. The test stores will create a plant-based meat set within the conventional meat department for 20 weeks to determine the impact to plant-based and conventional meat sales and to customer engagement.

The three-foot plant-based meat sets are placed within the meat department in 60 stores across two divisions and three geographies: Denver, and parts of Indiana and Illinois. The stores selected serve broad and diverse customer groups, which will enable representative and scaleable results to be captured. The test is being conducted in partnership with Kroger’s data analytics subsidiary, 84.51°, which uses a sophisticated, proprietary suite of tools and technology to turn customer data into actionable knowledge.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kroger on this innovative and exciting project. Plant-based meat sales have been increasing dramatically year over year, even while most of them are placed where only the most dedicated consumers are likely to find and purchase them,” said Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships for the Plant Based Foods Association. “We are confident that this test will demonstrate that plant-based meat sales will increase even more when consumers have easier access to them. We applaud Kroger for taking the lead on plant-based meat merchandising, and we are confident that the outcome will be a win for retailers, suppliers, and especially for consumers.”

“We’re excited to team up with the Plant Based Foods Association to study this category,” said Marcellus Harris, assistant commodity manager in the meat department for Kroger. “The test, which emerged from our partnership with PBFA, will allow us to unearth rich insight regarding how to best merchandise the category and connect with consumers.”

Both PBFA and Kroger representatives will be speaking about the study at this week’s Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, on Wednesday September 11.

Based on results of the 20-week test, all retailers and the entire plant-based foods industry will benefit by having clear, consistent, and accurate research results to guide merchandising and marketing decisions.