Meijer caters to more vegan requests


Bridge Street Market is offering a larger selection of vegan foods, including Superdip, based on customer requests. Courtesy Melissa Heath

When the consumers spoke, Meijer listened.

When Meijer’s Bridge Street Market opened during the summer, its shoppers requested more vegan products. Becky Kwasteniet, a bakery and deli lead at Bridge Street Market, said when the store first opened, consumers were asked to share what they thought Bridge Street Market doesn’t have that it needs to have.

“We had a large vegan and gluten-free request,” she said. “So, we try to bring in products that are missing.”

One of the vegan and gluten-free products that made it on the shelves at the Bridge Street Market was Superdip. It is a dip — created by Detroit-based Radical Plants, a vegan specialty startup company founded by Melissa Heath — that can be eaten as salad dressing, pasta sauce, baked potato topper, soup base or sandwich spread.

Bridge Street Market is the first store in West Michigan to carry Superdip, which comes in three flavors — basil Alfredo, chipotle lime and “better than ranch.”

“There is no oil, no sugar, no preservatives, no nuts,” Heath said. “Most dips and sauces that are vegan will have a high oil content or nuts, which makes them very rich and caloric. Superdip is neither; they are very low calorie, low carb and a good source of protein. So, this is a way to add flavor and protein to our diet without calories and carbs.”

Similar to Bridge Street Market, Heath said she recognized there was an interest in having more vegan products in Grand Rapids when she attended Grand Rapids VegFest last year and this past fall. She said at both events, there were record sales for her product.

At the last VegFest, Heath said she sold more than 200 units of Superdip, which is 25 percent more than the other VegFests she has participated in across the state and in Toledo.

“It just seems that Grand Rapids is so healthy minded, and we are just following this flow out there because the people have really demanded it,” she said. “Because they were record selling, people were asking, ‘Where can I get this?’ And I would say, ‘Come to Detroit.’ It was the poll of the people, really, that has helped our business to expand out there.”

Although the product just hit the shelves a few weeks ago, Heath said it has been reordered three times.

In addition to Superdip, Kwasteniet said there are other vegan food products that are sold at the store to meet the needs of vegan consumers. Some of the selections include hummus; Ypsilanti-based Curry Fresh, which offers an Indian base vegan paste; and Detroit-based Russell Street Deli, which offers different types of vegan soup.

“There has been quite a large amount of vegan food items that have come in the store, and that is something that we try to look for,” Kwasteniet said.

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