It has been revealed that Waitrose and Ocado are the best UK supermarkets for shopping for vegan food online.
The study, led by eCommerce analytics platform, analysed product listings across the online sites of the top UK supermarkets, to reveal which of the stores have the widest range of plant-based food products. Among those reviewed were Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Iceland, Asda, and online-only marketplaces, Ocado and Amazon Prime.
Dedicated vegan options make up four per cent of online retail listings, with plant-based milk the highest at 12 per cent. Ocado leads the way as the online superstore with the widest variety of plant-based and vegan ranges on sale, although it was found that Sainsbury’s and Tesco offer a higher than average quantity of vegan brands.
As well as identifying which supermarkets were best for online vegan shoppers, the study also discovered that many sites need to be further optimised to deliver effective and relevant results when consumers search for vegan food products. For example, it was found that on average, 35 per cent of the results that appear for the search term ‘vegan mince’ return meat-based products. Leaders Waitrose returned 81 per cent relevant vegan searches, and Ocado returned 80 per cent, thus they offering a better experience for vegan shoppers.
There are also a multitude of discrepancies in the labelling of vegan food products. E Fundamentals analysed the terms used to describe vegan ranges and food products, and found that different terminology being used for substitutes across major online retailers, causing confusion for some shoppers. Products are often labelled ‘meat alternative’ as opposed to ‘vegan’, or ‘milk and cream alternative’ instead of it being made obvious that the product is only ‘lactose-free’. These inconsistencies largely suggest that the vegan category is still in development, and would benefit from a universal labelling method to ensure that vegan options are more navigable across all online channels.
John Maltman, CEO at E Fundamentals, said: “With around 3.5 million people in the UK now identifying as vegan, we know that the plant-based category is skyrocketing in demand and popularity. Our team looked into this trend to see how well online supermarkets are equipped to cater for this growth in the food market. Our insights reveal that although product ranges are increasing often, they are too hard to find with on-site search functionality not returning the most relevant results. For example, 35 per cent of searches for ‘vegan mince’ delivered meat-based products in the results. With the right tools and approach, there is huge potential here for brands to collaborate with retailers and increase the visibility of plant-based products on supermarket websites, driving more sales for the category and meeting the needs of health conscious customers.”