Urban Eat has relaunched its plant based range, Roots, with four varieties, aiming to appeal to a broader demographic of shoppers.
The range includes a Cheeze & Pickle sandwich, a Falafel & Houmous sandwich, a Tomato & Pesto wrap, and a new Spicy Bean wrap. The sandwiches have an RRP of £3.49-£3.69, while the Tomato & Pesto wrap has an RRP of £3.59-£3.79, and the Spicy Bean wrap is priced at £3.59-£3.69.
At a press conference today, the supplier told Better Retailing that with 72% of lunchtime food purchases being made up of sandwiches, it wanted to be the go-to choice for those looking for vegan options in the category.
Abigail Nelson-Ehoff, brand manager at Urban Eat, admitted that its vegan range, Roots, was until now “lacking wider consumer appeal”, and that customers were looking for tasty options that were easily recognisable on shelf as being vegan.
Therefore, it needed to dial up its communication about the taste to attract and convert shoppers, and make sure that the packaging made it clear that it was suitable for vegans.
She explained that not wanting to alienate any consumer type, it avoided launching ‘fake meat’ fillings in favour for quality vegetable and bean options: “Resonating with flexible meat reducers as well as devoted meat excluders increases our audience by 50%.”
Nelson-Ehoff also added that total food-to-go sales had returned to pre-Covid levels, with sandwiches at 84% pre-covid levels, and that consumers reducing their meat intake was driving sales in plant-based offerings, with 65% of meat eaters reducing their meat consumption. She explained that people were people gradually reducing their meat to one-to-three meals per week.
Looking more in depth at the sandwich category, vegetarian and bean options are currently worth £85.3m, growing at 19.7% year on year ahead of the total sandwich market – however, these recipes account for only 2% of the pre-packed sandwich market. The top three sandwich types remain pork (49%), chicken (19%) and cheese (12%).
Vegetarian sandwiches have an 8% penetration in the market, with a year-on-year growth of 27.1%, whereas bean-filled sandwiches have a penetration of 3.3%, with a year-on-year growth of 20.3%, showing potential growth opportunity if the right products are on sale.
Spend per trip on average for total sandwiches comes in at £3.29, while vegetarian options sit at £3.85, demonstrating that consumers are willing to pay more.
The supplier added that the re-launch ties in with Veganuary, but as these will be permanent lines, it won’t be heavily leveraging the occasion. PoS materials will be made available for convenience retailers, alongside digital six-sheets, sampling activity and social media marketing.