Asda’s Vegan Butcher Counter: Serving up Meat 2.0

Asda has launched a vegan butcher counter just in time for Veganuary.

The UK’s second-largest supermarket chain is testing the vegan butcher counter, called Veelicious, at its Watford location. The trial—which runs for six months—aims to promote the company’s plant-based options.

“The demand for vegan products is on the rise and we have seen a surge in people seeking out ways to easily enjoy a plant-based lifestyle,” Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s chief strategy officer, said in a press release. 

“We recognised the importance of helping our customers with their Veganuary journey,” Thakrar continued. “Veelicious will be a ‘test and learn’ trial to help us understand what resonates with customers to enable us to enhance our plant-based proposition.”

Asda is launching the vegan butcher counter in partnership with London-based vegan concept creator Kbox Global. It will offer a number of plant-based meats. These include “facon,” bean burgers, vegan lamb, and meat-free meatballs. 

Veelicious will also sell a small selection of vegan cheeses, ready-to-eat meal kits, and other vegan staples like cooking sauces and chutneys.

Asda Gets More Vegan Options

The new vegan butcher counter follows Asda’s closure of its meat and fish counters last January. The chain replaced them with ready-to-eat “Food for Now” counters, after a successful trial at 13 stores.

The supermarket chain has been expanding its plant-based range to meet the growing demand for vegan food products. A new report by research firm Mintel found the coronavirus pandemic sparked a 25 percent surge in interest in veganism among millennial Brits.

This past Christmas, Asda launched nearly 50 new vegan products. Items included plant-based stuffing balls, a yule log wrapped in pastry, and a vegan turkey roast. In conjunction with the new vegan butcher counter, Asda added 22 new meatless products to its range.

And in September, Asda became the first supermarket in the UK to launch a shelf-stable vegan aisle. The aisle, which is filled with 100 plant-based products, features two bays. One contains savory products like condiments and cooking sauces and the other features sweets and snacks.

According to the supermarket chain, online searches for the term “vegan” have increased by 175 percent YOY on its site. Asda predicts vegan sales in January will increase by 391 percent YOY.

“Veganism is now a mainstream, healthy, and environmentally sustainable way for anyone to eat,” Salima Vellani, founder and CEO of Kbox Global, said in a statement. “We are pleased to be working with one of the country’s leading supermarkets to give consumers more of what they are asking for.”