In the week following the resignation of Waitrose Food Magazine editor William Sitwell over the scandal around his negative comments about vegans, Waitrose has been found top of the list for shopping for vegan products online.
A report by eCommerce analytics platform E Fundamentals, looked into which stores offer the widest range of vegan-friendly food products, reviewing all key players in the UK such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, and Waitrose, in addition to online stores Ocado and Amazon Prime. Plant-based milks remain at the top of the most available and most demanded plant-based product, at 12% of online retail listings.
We spoke with a representative at E Fundamentals, who revealed the following about their study.
The information analysed was what retailers were offering to vegans in a way that is accessible for shoppers. So for example: do retailers have a clear vegan section online, or do shoppers need to follow the menu through to different segments? Are there options to filter by ‘vegan’ on all relevant pages? Do retailers have a clear language around the category to make signposting and searching easier for shoppers? Is their search optimised to take into account people using the search function?
E Fundamentals told us that, “Most retailers now have a vegan store within a store online – where you would expect to find the range of vegan products from all categories from fresh to frozen to food cupboard – but if not there are fairly clear shelves that can be navigated to with vegan options by category and most retailers also had a vegan dietary filter on relevant shelves.”
“However, depending on the route the shopper takes to the vegan range, they can be presented with slightly different options, for example, filtering for ‘milk free’ versus ‘dairy free’ or ‘dairy alternative’ might return different products, even though they might be the same in the shoppers mind. More routes to vegan products meant more variety in the ranges that shoppers will see. For example, Ocado has a lot of different ways to access their vegan range (store within a store, sub shelf, filter from main shelf), but there is a high variance in the number of products returned. Asda has a fairly limited route to the vegan range, but that means the shopper has simple way in to view a consistent range.
“If products aren’t tagged to the correct shelves, aren’t clearly marked as vegan on the product image (i.e. with a V symbol) or aren’t clearly marked in the product name or description as ‘vegan’, they could miss out on sales.”