Discount supermarket chain Aldi U.K. has announced a significant surge in plant-based sales during January. Reporting a spike of 500 percent against last year’s January sales figures, the budget retailer has attributed the numbers to an increase in Veganuary participants. Recently confirmed figures show that a record 629,351 people signed up for the challenge in 2022.
Recognising the potential of the first month in a new year and Veganuary’s increasing popularity, Aldi U.K. timed the release of multiple new Plant Menu products perfectly. This year saw the first vegan cheese from the retailer, after multiple requests from customers. The grocer launched new ice cream, meat substitutes, ready meals and bread items in a notable push.
Reducing the cost of eating vegan
Aldi U.K. has been consistent in its gradual increase of product choices for plant-based eaters. Initially starting with frozen items such as sausages and nuggets, it has branched out into all categories. It has been proactive in reformulating recipes, in accordance with customer feedback, as well. A notable example is its ‘No-Beef Burgers’ that have been relaunched as ‘Ultimate No-Beef burgers’. They now feature pea protein and remain 60 percent cheaper than Beyond Meat alternatives.
“Veganuary is getting bigger and bigger each year as the UK’s appetite and interest in plant-based food grows,” Julie Ashfield, Aldi managing director of buying, said in a statement. “In response to that demand we’re continuing to expand our vegan offering, giving our shoppers plenty of choice and all at great value. But it’s also a trend that we’re witnessing year-round and, as more and more people adopt this diet, we expect these products to remain popular throughout the year.”
Aldi is demonstrating a global approach to plant-based product domination, with U.S. and German stores being particularly well-stocked. The chain won awards from PETA in 2020 for its extensive selections in both countries. Aldi Germany went a step further than offering only its own vegan range, as it announced a partnership with fellow German name Bettaf!sh in October last year. The collaboration saw more than 4,000 stores throughout the country stock ‘TU-NAH’ sandwiches.
Figures rising across the sector
Aldi’s reveal of a 500 percent rise in sales comes shortly after Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen announced an uptick of its own. Last week, the in-house plant-based brand, headed by Derek and Chad Sarno, reported a doubling of sales, when compared to January 2021. Like Aldi, Tesco released a number of new lines to coincide with the start of Veganuary, plus its first vegan meal deal options. Both initiatives are assumed to be contributing factors to sales figure success.
A newcomer to the vegan world, Morrisons unveiled its brand new plant-based range, Plant Revolution, in January. Launching with 50 products, the debut was ambitious and sought to garner new fans with a selection of grab-and-go options, as well as ready meals and frozen staples. Morrisons has said that the launch came as a direct result of consumers asking for more vegan foods to be available. Though no comparative data will be available until next year, it will be indicative of the range’s success to find out how popular it was during Veganuary 2022.
Sainsbury’s remained quiet this year, opting to secure the exclusive distribution of vegan Babybel cheeses for Veganuary. Though consumers have noted that they have been hard to track down.
Lead product image by Aldi U.K.