It is hard to find fault with Nugget Market. The employees are friendly and helpful. The products available to the consumer are varied. They clearly label and even showcase products that are local, certified organic, fair trade, imported, gluten free, heart healthy, low sodium, sugar free and dairy free. All of these categories are listed as special diet options and each category has a recognizable iconized shelf tag to make these items easy to locate within the store.
Vegans and other conscientious shoppers may be appreciative of a clear trend towards more available, high quality, lower priced organic produce. All organic produce is located together to enhance the shopping experience of the organic product consumer by making it easy to find all the organics in one place.
However, when it comes to vegan specialty food items, this simple and seemingly obvious insight into what makes sense to the consumer now disappears as the shopper exits the produce section.
Nugget Market does carries a wide variety of vegan items. Even though there is no iconized vegan category shelf tag it has always been rather easy to find vegan products as they tended to be located together among the aisles. But now these products have recently been decentralized in the West Sacramento store; it may well be this way in other stores too but that has not been verified.
To find vegan cheese the shopper now has to look in the processed cheese section. To find vegan sausage-like products one must look among the other products made from spiced ground up animals. To find textured vegetable products that might be used like ground meat – yes, it’s with the prepackaged meats and vegan sandwich slices are with the processed deli meats. Did anyone responsible for this change actually confer with vegan and vegetarian shoppers?
Vegan and vegetarian consumers just don’t shop this way. Some avoid analogs of animal-based products entirely but for many these products are a staple and for some they are a means to aid in the transition to a plant-based diet for reasons of health or ethics. Most vegans I know are truly repulsed by the sight and smell of processed animals and the last thing they want to see is the result of the factory farms and slaughterhouses surrounding their comforting plant-based, cruelty-free food products.
Specialty items should be collocated. Whether it is organic produce or vegan meat and cheese alternatives, shoppers want these specialty items to be together on the shelves. This is the way the progressive grocery stores do it. Any food cooperative does it this way. Whole Foods Market does it this way. Raley’s does it this way.
Come on Nugget Market, let’s go back to the old logic, collocate vegan foods like everyone else does, and we will pretend this never happened.