Last week, the UK retailer Asda became the first to open a vegan destination in store, with two bays entirely dedicated to plant-based products.
With a clear lean by customers for more healthy options - sales of meat-free foods have grown 40% in the past five years - that also has helped open the door for major discussions between industry leaders on the growing trend.
So much so that the Plant Based World Expo is launching in London on 8-9 April 2021 ... with organisers hoping to host this event live in person at the Business Design Centre.
“It is incredibly exciting to be able to officially announce the first Plant Based World Expo in Europe," Jonathan Morley, Managing Director of the show organiser JD Events Ltd, commented. "The plant-based sector is growing at such a rapid pace and we are proud to represent the industry with Europe’s only dedicated B2B event. With so much happening, from leading exhibitors to a number of show features, including exclusive tastings, the event will showcase the very best of plant-based.”
Organisers say strong safety measures will be put in place for the event, including comprehensive guidance from Public Health England such as limiting the number of people in conference halls, enhanced cleaning processes, thermal imaging screening on arrival, and the implementation of a fresh air system. In conjunction with these measures, one-way systems will be enforced in high-traffic areas and face masks will be used inside the building, except when eating or drinking.
The programme will "equip retailers, distributers, food service providers, entrepreneurs, investors and healthcare professionals with take-home insights on how to capitalise on the unique business and health opportunities that the sector presents."
UK supermarkets are already catching on. Following a trend that shows that 17% of UK households are reducing their meat intake or following a plant-based diet, Asda will unveil over 100 new lines, with market-leading prices across a dedicated vegan area.
The retailer has invested in launching vegan aisles across 359 stores that will consist of one bay of savoury products including proteins, cooking sauces and condiments, and one bay of snacks and sweet lines.
“We understand that customers want a quick and simple shopping experience, and this shouldn’t be restricted by dietary requirements," Sarah Thornewill, Asda’s Buying Manager, comments. "By merchandising all our vegan items together, we hope to save customers time and offer inspiration, whether for those following a plant-based diet, or those looking to reduce their meat consumption.”