Here’s Why Your Vancouver Big Box Grocery Shelves Now Have So Many More Vegan Products
Not so long ago, the search for vegan food items meant a trip to a specialty grocery store, even in a city like Vancouver. But the old tropes of the funky cooperative of hippies and bean sprouts lovers are very old news. In fact, even the term “vegan” has fallen by the wayside, having become somewhat derogatory, replaced by the milder term “herbal”.
And herbal products are becoming more and more common.
Today more than ever, the shelves of major Canadian grocery stores contain an impressive array of animal-free foods, many of which are designed to mimic the flavor and texture of its counterpart in the non-vegan world. Alternatives to plant-based dairy products include not only “milks” and “creams” but also all kinds of “cheeses”, yogurts and frozen treats. You’ll find ready-to-bake plant-based patties to replace with beef burgers, “crumble” to replace ground meat, and all kinds of fake frozen chicken and fish products, as well as sausages, dips, spreads and desserts.
From jackfruit to jerky, shoppers at large Vancouver grocery chains can easily flex their flexitarian – or all-vegan – muscles these days.
Go beyond Beyond Meat and more
Many products are made by leading global brands that have tapped into the Canadian market and established themselves on grocery shelves here in British Columbia, often starting with a single product, such as the Beyond Meat burger, before moving on to s ‘add to the range. Beyond Meat has made available its ground meat substitute and bigger salty sausages, and just added the company’s Beyond Breakfast Sausage Links.
“With the launch of our first retail breakfast product, we are enabling Canadians to enjoy Beyond Meat products any time of the day, satiating the growing appetite for plant protein in the country,” said Heena Verma , Marketing Director for Canada, Beyond Moi at.
Impossible Foods, another American company making a name for itself in the industry, runs into Beyond Meat in the packaged meats section of your local large grocery store. Other global brands that you’ll also easily find in mainstream grocery stores include Earth Island in California (which started in the 1970s as an independent Follow Your Heart vegetarian market in Los Angeles) and Violife in Greece, which manufactures several types of vegan “cheese” products.
Metro Vancouver businesses take root in traditional plant products sector
Conversely, Port Moody’s Noble Jerky – which started out as a meaty beef jerky company – has gone entirely vegan and has entered the U.S. and Australian markets, in addition to now being sold through the giant grocer Walmart Canada.
The company’s shift to 100% plant-based products marks what Noble sees as an inevitable shift in the market: “With so many large meat companies turning to offering vegan options, the growing demand From plant-based products and the rise of health and environmental trends, the outlook for our food industry is clear: the future of meat is vegan, ”says the company.
When it comes to boutique brands, many of which started as sole proprietorships here in Metro Vancouver, several small plant-based businesses have grown into large multinational corporations as Canadian grocery chains have expanded. their product lines. houseplant products, tapping into a growing sector of the consumer market.
Burnaby-based Earth’s Own has established itself in the milk substitute industry with its line of oat drinks – non-dairy milk substitutes cannot legally use the word “milk” in their product names – and is now a fixture in the case of dairy products in greater Vancouver grocery stores, as well as independents. The company then expanded its line to include nut-based milk substitutes, followed by a duo of oat-based cream-like products – one designed for use in coffee and the other as a substitute. “Culinary” or cooking cream.
Today, Earth’s Own is expanding again with products like plant-based butter spread, non-dairy “cream cheese spread” and “sour cream” and ranch flavored dip.
These products will share shelves with other Vancouver plant-based brands that have grown exponentially, like Spread’em Kitchen, which began making dairy-free dips and spreads before expanding to add more. “Cheese” and other products on its list. Spread’em started out in the family kitchen of its founder, which made the products and sold them at Vancouver farmers’ markets for weekend entertainment.
Canadian grocers are making more plant-based items themselves
When it comes to longtime innovators in the Canadian grocery industry, it’s hard to beat Loblaw, which has exploited trends in ingredients, eating habits, and more. for decades. Now, the President’s Choice (PC) in-house label of Loblaw Companies Limited offers an ever-growing line of herbal items, available for sale in Vancouver at stores like The Real Canadian Superstore, City Market and No Frills.
The product line has seen an increase in the number of items recently, including oatmeal yogurts, ready-to-cook sausages and more frozen items to reheat and serve like breaded “chicken” strips.
For Loblaw, the creation of these items became a matter of responding to consumer demand for products that could easily help them eliminate some, not necessarily all, of the meat from their diet.
“Canadians have been adopting a flexitarian mindset for some time now, seeking to include more plant-based products in their weekly meals,” said Kathlyne Ross, Vice President, Products and Innovation, Loblaw Companies Limited, at Vancouver Is Awesome. ” In this spirit. , our team has developed over 80 PC plant-based products to bring Canadians more meat and dairy alternatives that are full of flavor, providing the plant-based solutions we know they are looking for.
Often times buyers are looking for subs and simple trades to solve the “what’s dinner?” »Problem while striving to consume less animal products. For some buyers, it is by going vegetarian or vegetarian one evening a week for “Meatless Monday”, while for others, it is a little more. “If you want to easily replace your family Taco Tuesday meal with a baseless beef alternative, we’ve got you covered,” says Ross, of the PC plant-based line of products.
These customers are what Loblaw calls the “plant curious”.
Ross says giving consumers plenty of choice in the grocery store is also essential, as is convenience. “For Canadians curious about plants, our goal is to help them accommodate a greater variety of delicious, plant-based alternatives in their daily diet, in a way that is simple and convenient for them,” adds Ross.
For those who consider themselves curious about plants, flexitarians, or all-plant foods, know that your nearest big box store is definitely listening.