Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Germano Glufke Reis 

Location: Brazil
Academic field: Business management and food sustainability
Award category: PhD Holder

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period:
The role of Brazil's major retailers and supermarkets in promoting animal meat products versus plant- based meat and alternative protein products.
  1. Compare large retailers' strategies to promote animal meat products with those used for plant-based, alternative protein products:
    • Identify the largest Brazilian supermarket chains with online sales channels that sell animal meat as well as plant-based meat substitutes, focusing on regions with the greatest GDP and residents (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro).
    • Analyze weekly online promotions (e.g. price reduction, multi-buy promotions).
  2. Find out the extent to which plant-based meat products and brands from industrial meat-processing companies are promoted more than products from smaller firms that focus only on alternative proteins.
Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application:
  • Major retailers and supermarkets in large cities have significant influence on value chain activities including the pricing and development of products. Lots of global value chain literature have shown how downstream players such as retailers can exert non-market coordination on other actors’ activities along the chain. This means if retailers champion a particular category of products over another, that favored category can enjoy many more advantages. Moreover, supermarkets can influence consumers' choice of products. Translating this into meat and plant- based alternative protein products:
    • If retailers prioritize meat products over plant-based protein products, this will present a serious obstacle to the growth and expansion of the plant-based products. It will also delay the transition away from a food system that relies on industrial meat to one that does not focus heavily on meat.
    • On the flip side, a consistent network of retailers that provides adequate support has been key to and remains crucial for plant-based meat firms to expand.
  • That is why understanding retailers' marketing priorities and strategies for meat products and meat alternatives is very important if one wants to boost or to suppress these products. But this topic is rarely explored by those tackling industrial food animal production, especially not for Brazil and other developing economies that produce and consume a lot of meat products.
    • Plant-based meat alternatives have been available for some time in Brazil in most
      supermarkets, and they are known by many consumers. Furthermore, there are producers of plant-based meat alternatives of different sizes in Brazil, from small to larger companies. And the country has a network of well-established supermarket chains. So it is possible and important to study this topic in Brazil.
  • Another under-explored topic that this application addresses is that meat substitutes from industrial animal agriculture companies might receive more advantages from retailers compared with similar products from firms that focus only on alternative proteins.
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