From 15th May 2024, the Belgium division of Lidl, a German international discount retailer chain that operates over 12,000 stores in Europe, permanently cut the prices of its plant-based protein products. This decision was made after the retailer commissioned a study on iVox, which found that 42% of Belgians would purchase more vegetarian and vegan foods if they were cheaper.

The result of this reduction is price parity between all Lidl plant-based protein products and their animal-based equivalents, which should boost customers’ purchasing of vegan products. Lidl Belgium said it aims at doubling sales of plant-based protein products by 2030, increasing the share of its dairy alternatives to 10%, and expanding its range to make 20% of protein sources plant-based by 2030. The retailer has a strategy to encourage customers to shift towards sustainable proteins, so all these changes are consistent with that policy.

In May this year, Lidl also reported an increase in vegan sales of 30% in its stores in Germany. Lidl’s increase in vegan sales occurred after it brought the price of plant-based products in line with their non-vegan traditional versions, as its Belgian division has now done. It also discovered that putting vegan products in the meat aisles boosted sales.

However, despite all these changes, Lidl continues supporting animal agriculture and animal rights groups claim it continues to tolerate animal abuse. On 8th July 2023, animal rights activists from the group Open Cages protested outside 30 Lidl supermarket stores across the UK after footage showing alleged animal abuse in one of the farms that supply the discount supermarket chain was made public. The images were recorded by a whistleblower from a Birchwood Farm which Lidl denied is one of its suppliers of chickens, but the animal rights group claimed they have evidence that this is a lie. Protesters gathered at stores in London, Bristol, and Glasgow.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.