Updated April 18, 2019. In a bid to encourage people to eat less meat, Tesco is moving its vegan products into the meat aisle.
The largest supermarket chain in the UK began selling the Beyond Burger — a plant-based beef patty made meaty with pea protein and beets — in its meat fridges last year. It will soon expand this initiative to include plant-based burgers and sausages by brands like Heck, Vivera, and Vegetarian Butcher, according to the Daily Mail.
The move is being made to cater to the growing number of vegans and vegetarians, but also to make meat-free eating more accessible to everyone.
“From Monday, flexitarians, who eat both meat and plant-based alternatives, will be able to find both next to each other in a new fixture in the meat aisle at larger Tesco stores,” a Tesco spokesperson said in a statement.
A photo posted on social media showed Tesco’s new format. Various vegan meat products are shown lined up in the meat aisle, alongside large signs advertising that they are plant-based. “Try the new plant-based products. They’re packed with flavour without the meat,” one sign reads.
Tesco wants to play an “active role” in getting consumers to reduce their meat consumption, the Daily Mail explained, which is “part of a wider trend” in the UK.
“We are seeing a new kind of shopper – more conscious of their own health and the environment and perfectly happy to make dietary changes such as becoming vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian to achieve those aims,” added Tesco’s Director of Plant-Based Innovation, Derek Sarno, in a statement.
He continued, “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.”
In January, it was announced that 20 Sainsbury’s supermarkets would begin selling more than two dozen vegan meat products next to its meat counters for the first time. “We’re seeing increasing demand for plant-based products, and with the unstoppable rise of ‘flexitarianism’ in the UK, we are exploring further ways to make popular meat-free options more accessible,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said to iNews.
The Daily Mail said Sainsbury’s has also been handing out leaflets which describe the benefits of eating vegetables and include vegetarian recipes.
Rising Popularity of Vegan Food
More than nine in ten plant-based meals were consumed by non-vegans last year in the UK, with 150 million more meat-free dinners being eaten than the year before.
Derek Sarno, Director of Plant-Based Innovation at Tesco, commented, “The rise of eating more plant-based food and people becoming flexitarian is having a massive effect on the way many people shop and … the retail industry is having to adapt.”
This growth isn’t slowing down, according to data. One study said that the number of vegans living in the UK will increase by 327 percent this year.