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The Sainsbury’s/Asda Merger and Veganism: What You Need to Know

As a vegan in the UK, you’re probably wondering where is the best place to get fresh, healthy products from a legit and transparent eco-friendly origin. Generally, supermarket chains do a below-average job satisfying the demands of vegan customers, who require top-quality products. The search for this may result in an endless task, something we vegans know from experience.

That’s why when the recent Sainsbury’s/Asda merger went public, even vegans felt like this news would affect them somehow. Would such move benefit the clients who prefer clean eating and conscious products? These UK chains are big enough to make us think about the ways they influence our shopping habits and preferences. We’re always expecting changes that make life easier for vegans and this may be a good opportunity for just that.

In today’s article, we are going to talk about this merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda and what’s the panorama for vegan customers, always concerned in paying for the very best.

The Merger

As expected, this chains merger aims to dominate the supermarket sector in the UK. This move will create the largest grocery chain in the country. In terms of market share, the newly created super-chain would possess 31.4%, significantly ahead of Tesco with its 27.6%.

Sainsbury’s senior management will prevail after the merger is done, or at least most of it. This includes CEO, CFO, and chairman positions. Only a few of the key people at Asda will remain in the direction of the super-chain, as its CEO, possibly in a different position.

However, neither brands are going away. On the contrary, a key element of the deal is that both brands will continue to operate, including their product offering. Of course, this may change any time in the future.

One of the most interesting elements in this story is that Walmart is behind the merger. The multinational retailer, which is the largest company in the world by revenue, is deeply involved in the deal, having a 42% stake in the business that will result from the merger.

Known Offering in Vegan Products

Both Sainsbury's and Asda have maintained a steady offering in vegan products, working with their own brands and bringing third parties into the catalog. The UK has more than 20 million “flexitarians”, who are people who aren’t looking to become full-time, hardcore vegans but instead are making decent efforts to eat in a cleaner fashion, skipping meat from time to time. This pro-vegetarian approach is becoming increasingly popular in western countries.

So far, Sainsbury's have been offering great vegan products from brands like Pure Free Form, Rebel Kitchen, Gosh!, Sacla, and Violife. On the other hand, Asda was receiving plenty of attention from vegans thanks to their wide product offering, which includes crackers, cereals, bread, bakery, sweet treats, chocolate, household products, drinks, and baby products, the latter with the Little Angels line.

The Panorama for Vegan Customers

Now, what this merger could mean for vegans? There is any hope to see an improvement in variety and quality? First, let’s remember that Walmart is deeply involved in this deal and will possess a big part of the business after the merger is done. Then, we can feel safe to think that Walmart is more interested in vegans these days. Yes, more than ever before.

The fast-growing vegan market is attracting big players, which makes others jump in the same pool before it's too late. With Amazon lurking, Walmart should be planning huge things for this sector. The acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon probably triggered the alarms for the retail chain, feeling the threat closer than ever before.

There is also some background to take into account. Early this year, Sainsbury’s made a lot of noise with a vegan-oriented announcement: the supermarket would start selling fake meat. This move was aimed at the customers who are trying to eat better (the flexitarian profile mentioned before) and, why not, vegans.

The Bottom Line

The Sainsbury’s/Asda merger has the potential to bring big benefits to vegan customers who want more and want it better. The already-robust offering of vegan products in both supermarkets will certainly prevail. With the food industry slowly shifting to please vegans’ demands, supermarket chains are basically bound to do the same.

The presence of Walmart can be either positive or negative. Nevertheless, vegan customers will continue to enjoy a wide offering in the short term, to say the least. At the same time, there are going to be perks that everyone should be able to enjoy, not only vegans. Both Sainsbury’s and Asda high-ranking employees have stated that as the result of the merger, customers will enjoy a 10% price drop in most of their products, which is promising.

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