Upscale California supermarket chain Bristol Farms is the first grocery store in the country to house a vegan butcher counter.
The chain’s newest store, which just opened in Yorba Linda, about 90 minutes outside of Los Angeles, will sell “unpackaged” vegan meat items behind a deli case in its butcher section.
“The selection at the Yorba Linda store will include plant-based chicken burgers and breakfast sausage from Huntington Beach-based Before the Butcher as well as items like no-meat taco mix, vegetarian meat loaf, vegetarian stuffed cabbage, chorizo-stuffed potatoes and a Mediterranean meatless patty made by Bristol Farms chefs using Before the Butcher’s ground products,” reports Supermarket Perimeter.
According to the Supermarket Perimeter, sales of vegan meat are steadily increasing, with a 23% spike between 2017-2018; an estimated 12% of U.S. households now regularly purchase vegan meat options.
Supermarkets Are Embracing Vegan Food
Supermarkets across the globe have been steadily increasing their vegan meat offerings as flexitarians drive demand. Earlier this week Tesco, the UK’s leading supermarket chain, said it would begin merchandising vegan products in its meat sections.
“The rise of eating more plant-based food and people becoming flexitarian is having a massive effect on the way many people shop and as a result the retail industry is having to adapt,” Derek Sarno, Tesco’s director of plant-based innovation, said in a statement.
“Plant-based alternatives, in general, have become so high in quality that most life-long meat eaters are now including these foods as part of their diet. It makes sense to range them next to each other in the same aisle and bring a wider breadth of options available to choose from.”
Bristol Farms’ vegan butcher will feature the first retail placement of plant-based foodservice brand Before the Butcher. Its UNCUT non-GMO vegan beef, chicken and, turkey burgers and sausages will also hit other retailers later this year.
While this is the first time a major supermarket is adding a vegan butcher counter, it is not the first vegan butcher. In the U.S. that title belongs to Minnesota company the Herbivorous Butcher, which officially opened its doors in 2015 after selling its popular meats and cheeses at local farmers markets. Scores of other vegan butchers are in operation as well, including Canada’s The Very Good Butchers, which opened its doors in 2016.
And it’s not just supermarkets embracing the shift, either. Fast food chains are quickly hopping on board with vegan options. Earlier this week Burger King launched the Impossible Whopper made with the vegan Impossible Burger. White Castle and Red Robin also both offer Impossible burgers.
Bristol Farms operates 15 stores in Southern California.