PBFA to roll out ‘Power Plant’ grab-and-go stations this year

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

“It’s not just brands pooled together, we’ve really put a lot of thought into what foods would be a good fit."
“It’s not just brands pooled together, we’ve really put a lot of thought into what foods would be a good fit."

Related tags: plant-based, plant-based milk, PBFA, Retailers

The Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) debuted its Power Plant concept at the National Restaurant Association Show last month, designed to offer plant-based dairy and animal alternatives in on-the-go retail.

With a project that’s been in the works for more than a year, PBFA hopes to give vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians more variety with its new Power Plant units.

Leading up to this launch, PBFA has been more active on the retail front, focusing on new programs and working with its members to get more shelf space. Sabina Vyas, director of strategic partnerships at PBFA, told DairyReporter this was how they came up with the Power Plant idea.

Variations of coolers, freezers and snack racks will display a range of plant-based foods, including alternatives to yogurt, cheese, ice cream and milk. They will incorporate CPG products from PBFA’s members, like Follow Your Heart and Good Karma Foods.

“Our concept offers a wide variety of delicious, chef-selected plant-based beverages, snacks, meals all set with a branded cooler, freezer, and snack rack supported by marketing, menu concepts, and culinary training from our team of experts,”​ PBFA said.

Changing the food environment

The concept launch kicked off at the NRA show in May, with more trade show displays to come this summer. The team is finalizing locations for the first pilot program of Power Plant, likely to roll out late summer and early fall.

PBFA says that the units are ideal for college campuses, in retail and food service spaces, airports, hospitals and other similar venues. Vyas said about 30 member brands have signed on to be featured in the Power Plants, but there will be options beyond pre-packaged CPGs.

Vyas and PBFA developed ready-to-enjoy menu options with their ingredients partners that would be prepared on-site by the existing culinary teams at each location. To make this happen, PBFA would host training days to familiarize the chefs with the menu, including wraps, salads, mac and cheese, sandwiches and more.

Vyas said that the concept was well-received at the NRA show, and thinks the association is on track with the rollout steps.

“It’s not just brands pooled together, we’ve really put a lot of thought into what foods would be a good fit in the grab-and-go setting and also offer a wide variety of delicious options,”​ she said.

In the future, Vyas said PBFA might consider amending the format into a self-serve vending station, but for now the units will be inserted into existing retail locations. PBFA will also support the marketing of the program and help foster partnerships with institutions and its members.

Vyas thinks the Power Plant is an ideal ‘turn-key solution’ to encourage on-the-go healthy eating, considering convenience stores most often stock highly processed foods and few fruit and vegetable-based options.

“At PBFA we’re trying to help change the food environment by offering more plant-based foods by making them more available; putting more delicious offerings out there when folks are on the go,”​ she said.

“When you’re traveling you don’t always have healthier options that you want to eat. So if you’re trying to eat more plant-based, a lot of the foods we’re offering are more sustainable, and they can be seen as a healthier option. Making them more widely available is what we’re hoping to do with this concept.”

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