Lidl Netherlands today reveals plans to display the top four best-selling meat alternatives right alongside the meat products in the refrigerator. The strategy has already been adopted in some markets such as Spain, with the strategic placement aiming to encourage flexitarian customers to opt for plant-based options more frequently.
It’s important to note that not all meat substitutes will be positioned alongside the meat initially. The focus will be on vegan ground beef, vegetarian chicken pieces, vegan schnitzels, and veggie burgers.
The development follows Lidl’s much-discussed news from February that the German discounter will pursue a plant-forward strategy to 2025, with a focus on reducing the number of animal-based products in its offering and increasing its range of vegetable proteins. Christof Graf, chief buyer for the company, said at the time that there is “no alternative” to this step; that as a human species, we must live within the boundaries of the planet, and that this can only be achieved with fewer animal products. He added that a change is “without alternative because there is no second planet.”
Why it works
In the US, Kroger conducted experiments with the placement of plant-based products in the meat aisle back in 2019, with the trial taking place in collaboration with the Plant Based Foods Association, in order to assess how sales of both types of protein are affected by the placement. Later in 2021 the Kroger trial results revealed that on average sales were up 23% for plant-based (up to 32% in the Midwest), demonstrating that when it’s made easy, meat-eaters will follow the lead and purchase meat alternatives, often out of curiosity and other times for health and environmental reasons.
After a three-month trial period, Lidl will evaluate the impact of this new arrangement. Wageningen University & Research will oversee the experiment, which will take place in 70 out of the 440 Lidl stores. Previous studies of a similar nature have shown a positive effect on the sales of meat substitutes in Europe, according to researcher Monique van der Meer.
50 by 30
Lidl has set a goal of having at least 50 percent of its protein sales be of vegetable origin by 2030. Currently, 38 percent of its protein offerings are plant-based, while the remaining 62 percent consists of animal protein. Additionally, consumers will quickly notice that meat substitutes are often more budget-friendly when compared to animal meat.
Chantal Goenee from Lidl explains, “Our aim is for customers to realize how effortless and delectable it can be to go meatless for a day, every now and then, thereby reducing our impact on the climate.”
Here you can read our 2020 deep dive into the concept of a protein aisle to encompass both animal and vegetable proteins.