BILLA sets an example for plant-based foods

REWE Group

BILLA sets an example for plant-based foods

BILLA is setting new industry standards when it comes to plant-based foods. One highlight is the mushroom-based salmon fillet, which is produced using a 3D printing process and is available at BILLA PFLANZILLA for the first time in a supermarket.

Rewe Group

Mushroom-based salmon fillet produced using the 3D printing process

Whether regionality, animal welfare, organic or purely plant-based products - a sustainable and conscious diet is becoming increasingly important in the lives of people in Austria. BILLA is responding to this trend by constantly setting new industry standards. Plant-based foods in particular play a key role in this. For more than 20 years, the own brand Vegavita has been an integral part of the world of plant-based products. As a pioneer, BILLA has set a milestone with PFLANZILLA, Europe's first store of a traditional food retailer with a purely plant-based range. One highlight of the store is the mushroom-based salmon fillet from Revo Foods, which is produced using a 3D printing process and is available in a supermarket worldwide for the first time.

Plant-based salmon fillet from a 3D printer

According to NielsenIQ*, plant-based fish and seafood is experiencing the highest sales growth in Austria at more than 1,000 percent and also has the greatest potential due to the even smaller number of products in this category. BILLA is serving up a real innovation to match: Fungi-based salmon fillet from the Revo Foods 3D printer is available to customers exclusively at BILLA PFLANZILLA. The new product has the same taste and appearance as animal salmon and contains omega-3, pea proteins and vitamins. In addition, the fungi-based salmon fillet has a lower fat content compared to animal salmon. The Viennese start-up caused a sensation back in 2021 with its smoked salmon "made from plants".

33 percent more sales of lower-priced plant-based products at BILLA

BILLA is also a pioneer in the much-discussed price issue of plant-based foods with the aim of making plant-based products affordable for everyone in Austria. In November last year, BILLA reduced the price of 20 additional items in addition to the 30 products that are equally or more affordable. This was done to ensure that all Vegavita products are on a par with or even cheaper than their animal counterparts. These price reductions have led to a 33 percent increase in sales since their implementation. Future new Vegavita products for which there is a comparable animal product will automatically be placed at the same price level or, if possible, offered at a lower price.

Verena Wiederkehr, BILLA Head of plant-based Business Development: "Part of our plant-based strategy is to always keep an eye on prices - and has been from the very beginning. Our aim is to make plant-based enjoyment affordable for everyone. Putting animal products on an equal footing with their plant-based counterparts in terms of price is an important step in this direction and has been very well received by our customers. This is demonstrated by the huge 33% increase in sales of reduced-price plant-based products. We are clearly investing in the right place. It makes us proud to set an important example and to bear the costs as a food retailer."

One in ten milk sold is already plant-based

Plant-based milk in particular is becoming increasingly popular. Between 2020 and 2022 alone, sales of plant-based milk in Austria increased by 21 percent. At BILLA and BILLA PLUS, every tenth milk sold is now a plant-based variant. Nevertheless, plant-based milk is still taxed at 20 percent and animal-based milk at only 10 percent. This difference amounts to between 15 and 25 cents per pack or liter, which is particularly noticeable in times of price increases and inflation. For Veganuary, BILLA set an example by giving its customers this extra VAT on all chilled and non-chilled plant-based variants in January - i.e. on around 100 products.

"Putting plant-based and animal milk on an equal footing for tax purposes would not only provide a financial incentive for our customers, but would also give them a real choice depending on their individual tastes. Especially in times of inflation, it is important to relieve our customers financially, just as various European countries such as France, the Netherlands and Finland have already enshrined equal VAT in law," says Wiederkehr.

BILLA PFLANZILLA: Lighthouse project in the heart of Vienna

As a flagship project of the plant-based strategy, BILLA opened BILLA PFLANZILLA in September 2022, the first store in traditional food retail in Europe to offer a purely plant-based range. BILLA thus demonstrated a pioneering spirit and has since been the first point of contact for plant-based indulgence, covering a significant demand in the heart of Vienna. More than a year later, the rush is still great and the enthusiasm justified: The green-and-yellow store's range now includes more than 2,500 plant-based products, with a further 800 added by the end of October. 16 percent of the BILLA PFLANZILLA range is exclusively available in the 200 m2 store or in the BILLA online store. The BILLA PFLANZILLA product range shows just how diverse the enjoyment of purely plant-based foods is and once again illustrates BILLA's strong innovative power. Around 137,000 customers have already been won over by this since the store opened. The plant-based nougat croissant is the most popular item in their shopping bags. The most popular own-brand plant-based product is Vegavita Extra Pikant with sunflower protein, followed by Vegavita smoked tofu made from organic soy from Austria and Vegavita minced meat.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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