If there’s a sign of how mainstream plant-based food has become, it might just be that you can now buy two-pound boxes of vegan chicken fingers at Costco.
According to Instagrammer CostcoVegan — which shares plant-based food finds at the warehouse club’s Canadian stores — the chain now carries Gardein’s Seven Grain Crispy Tenders chicken in a bulk pack weighing in at two pounds.
ConAgra-owned Gardein is one of North America’s most popular vegan meat brands. Sales have quadrupled over the past four years, with sales totaling $170 million annually. It is the second-largest meat-free brand in the space behind MorningStar Farms. According to CEO Sean Connolly, additional production capacity will be added to its two existing facilities this fall in order to grow the brand.
Vegan at Costco
Gardein isn’t the only vegan meat brand stocked in Costco’s freezer aisle. Some shoppers have found eight-packs of the Beyond Burger. It also carries Don Lee Farms’ Organic Plant-Based Burger, which sold one million patties 60 days after launching. Costco also carries Sweet Earth products, frozen jackfruit, Field Roast, and two-packs of the vegan JUST Egg.
The food court is also becoming more vegan-friendly. Last July, U.S. stores removed Polish hot dogs from the menu. The move was a bid to make room for plant-based options like vegan açai bowls and salads.
The influx of vegan products as Costco is a representation of how eating habits have evolved in recent years. More consumers than ever are going “flexitarian” and making the conscious choice to eat fewer animal products, primarily for health-related reasons.
According to recent Nielsen data, flexitarians account for 37 percent of plant-based meat buyers. Vegan meat is becoming an option for more people: 62 percent say they are willing to reduce meat consumption for the sake of the environment and 43 percent say they would be willing to replace animal-based meat with alternatives
Costco also has sweets on offer. Canadian stores now carry two-packs of vegan salted caramel ice cream made by dairy-free brand So Delicious. Three-pound tubs of Eat Pastry vegan cookie dough were spotted last May and the store also carries Annie’s Homegrown cinnamon rolls.