NEW YORK — Meatless Farm Co. and Impossible Foods are getting into the direct-to-consumer game with the launch of their first online stores.
Consumers can purchase the entire lineup of Meatless Farm Co.’s plant-based burgers, ground beef and sausages on its new online Farm Shop. Curated product bundles also are available through the digital store.
The company, which launched in the United States and Canada last year, debuted the Farm Shop in the United Kingdom in April alongside a new lineup of meat-free breakfast sausage links and patties.
“As we continue to grow in the United States market, it is important for us to ensure we're meeting the unique needs of American consumers by making it easy to incorporate more plant-based options into their daily routines, whether it's for their health or for the health of the environment,” said Kasper Vesth, general manager for North America at Meatless Farm Co.
Impossible Foods’ direct-to-consumer channel offers family size quantities of the Impossible Burger. The larger quantities were designed to meet increased demand for meals that can be cooked at home at a time when grocery stores across the country are imposing quotas on meat, the company said. Orders come with compostable and recyclable packaging, free shipping and two-day home delivery.
The company has worked with restaurant partners to sell Impossible Burger inventory direct-to-consumer since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, it teamed up with e-commerce grocery startup Cheetah to sell burgers with contact-free pickups in the San Francisco Bay area. In Los Angeles, grocery store Pink Dot began offering third-pound patties for delivery through Postmates.
“With America facing meat shortages for the first time since World War II, we want to make it as easy as possible to get Impossible Burger — whether you shop in person at your local supermarket, with Instacart or other delivery services or direct online,” said Dennis Woodside, president of Impossible Foods. “Shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 altered our buying and eating habits, and many of these changes are permanent. Our intention is to make Impossible Burger available everywhere people shop and eat, including directly from our online store.”
PepsiCo, Inc. and Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. also are making forays into the direct-to-consumer space.
Ocean Spray made its Atoka line of craft herbalist beverages available through a new e-commerce site last month.
PepsiCo launched two websites: PantryShop.com, which offers bundled products from brands including Gatorade, Quaker, SunChips and Tropicana, and Snacks.com, which offers chips, cookies, nuts and dips from the company’s Frito-Lay portfolio.
The launches reflect a rapid shift toward food-at-home as consumers across the country were ordered to stay inside during the pandemic. Shoppers have embraced e-commerce at record rates, with online grocery sales skyrocketing to more than $4 billion in March, up from less than $2 billion a year ago, according to Brick Meets Click and Mercatus.
Online food sales grew 37% to $5.3 billion in April before jumping another 24% to reach $6.6 billion in May.
Interest in plant-based meat alternatives has surged, too, with year-over-year sales up 148% in March, according to data from SPINS and the Plant-Based Foods Association.