By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute

Impossible BurgerIf you measure the plant-based burger trend in Celsius, it’s reached 100+ degrees this summer.

FMI’s 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report finds a rising number of households (33%) have at least one member following a non-medically prescribed diet such as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian, and this trend is higher for Gen Z and Millennial households. Increased demand for personalization is challenging the food shopping experience, and a growing number of shoppers are turning to plant-based proteins to help meet their unique household needs. FMI’s Power of Meat 2019 report finds, plant-based meat alternatives sales increased 19.2% last year and account for $878 million in annual sales.

The plant-based protein trend has ignited another interesting debate among food retailers— where should plant-based proteins be featured in the grocery aisles? For example, Beyond Meat products are often placed in, or in proximity to, the meat case. For shoppers, this offers personalization in every grocery store aisle; now within the same case one might find organic, natural, grass-fed, plant-based and conventional proteins. 

When we asked consumers where they wanted plant-based alternatives places in the grocery store we got a mix of answers:

  • 26% believe plant-based alternatives should be found in the produce department.
  • 37% thought the meat department placement was best.
  • 37% shop the frozen aisle for plant-based alternatives

More frequent news about breakthroughs in plant-based protein products are keeping the temperature on high, and food retailers will continue to look to the perimeter for opportunities to customize consumers’ diverse protein demands.  

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