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German supermarket Lidl is leveling the playing field for plant-based foods. By price-matching its Venmondo vegan products to their animal-based equivalents, Lidl is upending the higher pricing model traditionally associated with plant-based fare. The price parity move is grounded in the guidelines of the Planetary Health Diet, which is described as the optimal diet for people and planet and advises eating at most modest amounts of meat and dairy.
The retailer introduced Vemondo in 2020; the vegan line now includes over 100 items. In addition to lowering prices, Lidl is placing Vemondo products near their animal-derived counterparts in its over 3,250 German stores, making it easier for customers to find and compare plant-based options. It's also the first German food retailer to publicly disclose the ratio of plant to animal protein sources in its range, which currently stands at 11 to 89% (and 6 to 94% for dairy products). Lidl has committed to boosting plant-based protein's portion to 20% by 2030.
Consumers consistently vocalize their preference for ethical, sustainable and healthy food, but their in-store choices are still often driven by cost, convenience and taste. Cost, in particular, plays a dominant role.
Early adopters, like vegans, vegetarians and novelty-seeking meat-eaters, may willingly pay a premium for plant-based alternatives. But achieving price parity is key to mass adoption of plant-based foods — a crucial step in reducing food-related carbon emissions, curtailing deforestation and lowering land and water usage. (Not to mention the ethics of slaughter-based meat.)
Lidl is targeting a large and growing flexitarian market. According to a survey by the Federal Association of the German Food Trade, 41% of Germans identify as flexitarian, and 43% would consume more plant-based options if they didn't have to pay a premium. By eliminating the price barrier, Lidl could effectively mainstream plant-based nutrition.
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