Whole Foods Market is upping its vegan game. Just weeks after releasing its own-brand dairy-free cheese slices and shreds, the chain has launched its own label deli-style vegan turkey slices.
The new vegan meat, “Herb Roasted Plant-Based Turkey-Style Slices,” was spotted by a customer in Colorado and shared on Instagram.
The launch comes recent data show that consumers are seeking to decrease their intake of meat and dairy products for health, environmental, and ethical reasons.
$3 Trillion Demand for Vegan Meat
Vegan meat is in high demand; earlier this month Burger King became the latest major fast-food chain to offer a vegan patty. The chain launched the Impossible Whopper made with Impossible Foods’ vegan burgers. The vegan patties are also available at White Castle and Red Robin locations across the country, among others.
In a recent interview, Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown called the vegan meat industry a $3 trillion opportunity.
“[The current meat industry] is based on a prehistoric technology that hasn’t improved in thousands of years — using animals to turn plants into food,” he said. “It’s fundamentally unimprovable.”
He continued, “If there’s one thing that we know, it’s that when an ancient unimprovable technology counters a better technology that is continuously improvable, it’s just a matter of time before the game is over.” He added, “I think our investors see this as a $3 trillion opportunity.”
Competitor Beyond Meat is also finding placement in leading fast-food chains. The Beyond Burger is available at nearly 1,000 A&W locations throughout Canada, and its crumbles are now in 580 Del Taco locations. The brand also recently debuted a vegan ground Beyond Beef that looks, cooks, and tastes like traditional ground beef.
Whole Foods Vegan Options
Whole Foods is a vegan market leader selling a variety of plant-based meat brands including Tofurky. The Oregon-based company is best-known for its turkey-style slices and festive holiday roasts.
Whole Foods was also the first to carry the “bleeding” vegan burgers from Beyond Meat. They launched at the upscale chain’s Boulder, Colo., store in 2016; they became the first vegan burgers merchandised in traditional meat sets. The burgers sold out within an hour.
The retailer has been steadily increasing its vegan options throughout its 400-plus stores. It recently added vegan mac and cheese to nearly 100 hot bars, and it’s now also carrying a vegan boxed mac and cheese made with cauliflower. Last summer it featured a vegan mac and cheesesteak sandwich at its Brooklyn location.