Discount grocery store chain Aldi is increasing its vegan options at all 1,800 U.S. locations.
Business Insider reports that Aldi’s new vegan options include “kale-and-quinoa crunch burgers” and “meatless chicken patties” launched under its private-label Earth Grown line as well as veggie noodles and plant-based grab-and-go options like single-serve guacamole and hummus, sliced fruit, salads, and quinoa bowls. Additionally, Aldi will increase its fresh foods availability by 40 percent, placing a strong emphasis on organic.
“Customers want more products that are healthier for you, that are fresher, that are more convenient, that are more organic in nature, that come from a cleaner ingredient deck,” said Aldi US CEO Jason Hart. “As demand has been exponential in all those categories, we’ve had to re-merchandise the stores.”
The upcoming overhaul marks the biggest product refresh in the history of the chain. Aldi hopes that by offering its customers more fresh, organic produce and healthier vegan convenience foods, it will be able to compete with major retailers such as Walmart and Kroger, both of which have launched new plant-based options over the past year.
Founded in Germany in 1913, Aldi has long been popular for offering customers healthy food at discount prices. The new product overhaul comes at the heels of a $5.3 billion investment for its U.S. expansion, which will be used to remodel existing stores and to open 800 locations over the next four years. The chain is currently positioned to become the third-largest grocery chain in the U.S., behind Walmart and Kroger.
Hart believes that Aldi’s attention to changing consumer buying habits have played a role in helping the discount chain become a strong competitor in the grocery industry.
“The grocery industry is in a perfect storm with consumers changing their shopping habits, different formats taking away market share from the traditional supermarket, and supermarkets defending their share with price wars,” Hart said. “While we focus on our competition and we keep an eye on them … we’re more focused on the consumer, our customers, and the customers that don’t shop us, so we can communicate to them that Aldi is a better way to shop.”
In recent years, more U.S. consumers than ever before are seeking out plant-based options, regardless of dietary preferences. According to data released by market research firm The NPD Group, 86 percent of consumers who purchase vegan products are omnivores. This is further backed by vegan meat brand Beyond Meat, which reported that 70 percent of its customers aren’t vegan or vegetarian, but rather, part of a new wave of conscious consumers that aim to reduce consumption of animal-based products due to reasons related to environmental sustainability, personal health, and animal welfare concerns.
Customers can expect to find Aldi’s new vegan options, along with new fresh produce options, in early 2019.
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