Kroger, Cincinnati, partnered with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), San Francisco, to launch an innovative plant-based meat retail concept in 60 stores nationwide. 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 3-foot plant-based meat sets are placed within the meat department in 60 stores across two divisions and three geographies—Denver, Colo., and parts of Indiana and Illinois. The test is being conducted in partnership with Kroger’s data analytics subsidiary, 84.51°, which uses a 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,” says Julie Emmett, senior director of retail partnerships for PBFA. “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,” says 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.”