How Kroger is moving 'Beyond Meat'
Kroger hosted another Natural Foods Innovation Summit this year, but this time it was keynoted by the leader of fast-growing meat substitute brand Beyond Meat.
Seth Goldman, Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat and Co-Founder of Honest Tea, led the event, which is designed to attract natural foods suppliers interested in selling in Kroger stores.
California-based Beyond Meat has seen sales skyrocket as consumers switch to meat-free meals. The nearly $30 billion processed meat industry last year grew by 2 percent, while the the $1.4 billion meat alternatives industry grew by 22 percent, according to data service Euromonitor.
The popular vegan meat company has even supposedly reached out to J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs to lead an IPO.
Kroger's fourth Natural Foods Innovation Summit focused on the importance of sustainability in the food industry and shared best practices for operating a mission-driven company.
"It's been one year since Kroger launched our Natural Foods Innovation Summit," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of merchandising. "The interactive model has proven to be successful, creating a new channel for enterprising small businesses and startups to engage Kroger, America's largest grocery retailer, with innovative ideas and products for our customers."
Nearly 60 brands participated in the event, bringing the total to more than 200 different small businesses Kroger has engaged combined across the four Summit events.
"Kroger has experienced five consecutive years of double-digit growth in the natural and organic foods category," continued Clark. "We know today's customer wants better-for-you products, and Kroger will continue to make natural, organic, and free-from products accessible and affordable through Simple Truth® and supplier partnerships."
Kroger’s food experts recently released their predictions for the top food trends for 2019. Among them: more plant-based foods, more people following healthy eating styles such as vegetarian or paleo, and more foods that help the digestive system. Those fit Kroger’s emphasis on natural foods.
Kroger’s Simple Truth natural and organic brand crossed the $2 billion mark for annual sales this year, and Simple Truth’s sales grew at a clip of more than 15 percent in the second quarter.