Mind the (plant-based) gap: Co-op cuts vegan GRO range pricing to match meat equivalents


Co-op says it is slashing the prices of its plant-based GRO range to match their meat-based equivalents. 

The UK retailer says it wants to address the “unfair” pricing of vegan and plant-based foods, which a recent survey found were 14% more expensive than their non-vegan equivalent. It claims its new initiative “will save families choosing vegan alternatives over a hundred pounds a year”. 

Co-op will invest over £1.7 million to reduce the price of 29 fresh, chilled and ambient vegan products, from today.

This move comes as the retailer unveils a 10-point climate change action plan which sets out blueprint for Co-op to achieve net zero for its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2040, achieved through:

  • Offsetting the direct greenhouse gas impacts of producing Co-op branded food and drinks to achieve carbon neutral status by 2025.
  • Neutralising the greenhouse gas emissions from running Co-op’s operations (stores, buildings and logistics) through carbon offsetting by the end of 2021.
  • Price matching Co-op own-brand plant-based foods to meat-based equivalent.
  • Investing millions of pounds of proceeds from the carry bag levy to support UK natural restoration projects and creating an innovation fund for carbon reduction research and development initiatives.

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO, said: “It’s an industry-wide standard that plant-based alternatives are usually priced higher than their meat and dairy counterparts. At Co-op, we believe it shouldn’t cost you more money to eat plant-based food and that this disparity is unfair to those following vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets. It’s Co-op’s ambition to make our plant-based range, GRO, even more accessible to our members and customers, helping them make decisions that collectively will have an impact on the world we all share.”

“It’s an industry-wide standard that plant-based alternatives are usually priced higher than their meat and dairy counterparts”

Lynne Elliot, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: “This is brilliant news from Co-op, and we support any move that makes plant-based food more accessible with fewer barriers to purchase. Eating a plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint and it’s delicious.”

As part of the price investment, some lines will be reduced by over and up to 50 per cent such as GRO Vegan Sausages (was £3.00, now £1.45), GRO Meat Free Burger (was £3.00, now £1.35), GRO Meat Free Mince (was £3.00, now £1.75).

GRO was unveiled in January 2020 and is claimed to be the UK’s largest ever roll out of an own-brand, plant-based range, after launching in up to 6,000 Co-op and independent stores across the UK.”

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