French retailer Naturalia, of the Casino Group, has opened three vegan supermarkets. The stores, in Vincennes and Paris, carry roughly 2000 products all of which comprise 100% organic vegetable ingredients. While other retailers in France carry organic and/or vegan products, Naturalia is the first to stock only plant-based products. Naturalia followed a strict sourcing and compliance protocol with vendors in order to guarantee product and animal welfare standards, as well as production methods.
In a country where culinary tradition often includes animal products, the opening of three vegan-only supermarkets marks a shift. Whether or not this shift remains niche or expands into something more remains to be seen, but the Casino Group seems to see ample demand for stores carrying exclusively plant products. Furthermore, what does the Casino Group’s opening these vegan-only stores signal to other retailers? Will the Naturalia brand benefit from the so-called first-mover advantage or will this move simply usher in a new type of retail market in France? Alternatively, if the vegan supermarkets fair poorly, what effect will it have on the plant-based movement in France?