Weis Markets launches plant-powered food program
Weis Markets launched a plant-based health and wellness program called Plant Powered, according to Retail Leader. The effort will highlight plant-based food and beverage products across the chain's private label and national brand assortment, from fresh produce to grocery selections.
Weis's in-house dietitians will identify items for the program — which will include frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, whole-grain rice, pasta, cereal, bread, soy and almond milks, healthy oils, nuts and tea.
Company dietitians will also reinforce the program through recipe development and consumer interactions. Weis noted that dietitians can show customers how to swap in plant-based ingredients to create dishes like vegetarian tacos and overnight oats with almond milk.
With this initiative, Weis has tapped into a fast-growing market for meat and dairy alternatives. According to a Nielsen survey, more than 1 in 3 Americans are actively trying to include more plant-based foods in their diets.
Weis’s decision to call out plant-based foods and then incorporate its registered dietitians into the program gives it an edge over other grocers that are tapping into the trend. While store signage can identify plant-based foods for shoppers, store dietitians can give them practical advice on how to incorporate these selections into their diet. Weis's dietitians already host store tours, special events and one-on-one counseling, making them trusted names for customers.
Weis is clearly trying to differentiate itself through health initiatives. Last year, the grocer focused in on digestive health by introducing a program called Nourish Your Gut. Under the program, in-store pharmacists recommend certain foods that promote stomach health. Weis also recently expanded its HealthyBites magazine, which includes a digital edition and online community that connects shoppers to its store dietitians.
Weis’s decision to identify private label products as well as national brands could boost its store brand sales, which can boost customer loyalty, set up a brand image, and increase revenue due to higher profit margins.
It's notable that Weis is using the term "plant powered" instead of "vegan" or "vegetarian." Although similar, there are subtle differences — both in lifestyle and perception. Veganism is not only a dietary restriction but also a lifestyle restriction. A recent study from California-based food consultant Mattson found that 80% of consumers preferred the terminology "plant-based." Respondents said calling something "plant-based" is more flexible and offers more for the consumer. It also describes food that tastes better and is healthier than items labeled “vegan.” Aligning the new initiative with a trend that consumers associate with healthy choices will help it remain popular.
- Retail Leader The most plant-based traditional grocer?
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