Forget about Silicon Valley and the tech innovators. The fledgling industry that has gotten everyone’s attention is the plant-based food industry, and the battle is raging. This new industry is taking on the traditional animal-based food products in a toe-to-toe battle…and they are winning. There are several factors as to why they are winning this battle, but the one driving force is marketing.
To understand what is plant-based (vegan) is to know they are products made from plants, just as the name infers. Some of the more common items are nut-based milks and vegetable protein meats, such as those made by companies such as Silk and Beyond Meat. But it is not just milk and meat in this category. It includes ice cream, cheese, cakes, cookies, and numerous other products. If you are wondering how popular these products are, look around your grocery store and take a look at the varieties.
The battle for supremacy in the food market is raging between plant-based products and traditional animal products. Last year alone, the dairy industry lost over $1 billion dollars in sales to their plant-based competitors. According to Neilsen, plant-based foods grew over 20% since 2017. In 2017 alone, $3.1 billion worth of plant-based foods were sold. Beyond Meat just went public and the offering soared 163% in the biggest-popping U.S. IPO since 2000. Business heavyweights such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson are investing heavily in the plant-based industry.
Consumers are making healthier choices to either enjoy ‘Meatless Monday,’ replace dairy milk with a plant-based option or eliminate 100% of all animal products from their diet. These choices are driven by reasons that vary, depending on the individual. Primarily, the most common reasons consumers are choosing plant-based items in their diet are either for health reasons, ethical choices or environmental sustainability. The science here is well established that consuming a plant-based diet can significantly improve your health. Ethically, it is about animal cruelty. Ever wonder why you would take a child to pick apples from an orchard and not tour a slaughterhouse? Lastly, the science clearly indicates that the greatest contribution to global warming is a direct result of the animal food production cycle.
No matter what the reason consumers are basing their choices on when choosing plant-based options, the one constant across the industry is their marketing. They are getting back to the basic fundamentals and placing the customer first. Much like when consumers switched from the horse and buggy to motorized horseless carriages, it takes more than a few slick ads to get people’s attention. The marketing efforts keep these companies in direct contact with the consumer and they listen closely to the options. These food brands heavily depend on getting one happy customer at a time with a product that is healthy, tasty and has a true value. These pioneers also understand the value of a picture and ethical branding. Our digital environment helps greatly in spreading the news about their brands in a clear and honest manner.
Now, all of this is not meant for you to drop your cheeseburger and run out and get a Beyond Burger with vegan cheese. It is simply meant to say that you should always keep the customer or end-user first and foremost in everything you do. Listen to what they tell you across your communication channels and adjust accordingly. Ensure your products are “Instagrammable.” Whatever you put out on the digital environment will be judged for quality and uniqueness. These efforts require that you are in front of your customers, face-to-face and listen.
Interested in learning more about EDK’s plant-based food marketing services? Contact us for more information today!