Plant-based products on the rise: Your messaging matters more than ever

Demand for plant based, or vegan, products is on the rise, and not a minute too soon. Studies conducted by many reputable organizations, including the American Heart Association, American Institute for Cancer Research, and World Health Organization, among others have found that not only are dairy and meat bad for your health, the production is bad for the planet too. In addition to the health and environmental costs, sustained campaigns from animal rights groups showing cruel treatment have also made at least 7.5 million Americans realize the moral cost of consuming meat and dairy. As a result, more industries have joined hands with the food industry to develop a vegan product range.

On the other hand, traditional industries that develop and sell animal based products have also realized this headwind and, as a result, are starting to try and influence consumer behavior by offering convenience, variety, attractive prices and services – their clout and deep pockets don’t hurt, either. Couple this with existing intense competition within the niche (there has been a 60 percent rise in the number of global food and beverage launches using a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015) to gain the lion’s share, and you have the perfect recipe for a pincer move against the Vegan products segment.

Luckily, vegans are less price-sensitive than the average American, and they care more about products that are important to them and companies that they support. And on top of that, most vegans are frequently online, researching new vegan recipes and meat substitutes. What this means is that with a little careful planning, you can tap into your target segment, and ensure that your vegan product enjoys continued success. Consider these strategies to reach-out to your target audience:

Digital Marketing: As one leading vegan food company, Beyond Meat, found out, Social Media is one of the best platforms for you to connect with your audience, as vegans are always plugged-in. Instagram and Facebook are key channels for your brand to engage your audience in a meaningful conversation. Ask your followers to post their recipes and other photos and videos on your page, and show your appreciation by reposting top posts and rewarding them with promotional offers. This will also help you with your original content needs – most users will allow you to use their content if you ask them nicely.

Print ads in niche magazines: VegNews, Vegetarian Times, Chickpea, and Natural Health are only a few of the many publications catering to the Vegan audience; what separates these from others, however, is that these are fairly successful, which is saying a lot in a world that’s slowly slipping away from print media. A well-placed ad in any of these magazines will get you much needed mind-share. That said, remember that with today’s consumers, you can’t afford to write checks your brand can’t cash – in other words, be truthful.

No matter what medium you choose, it’s your messaging that matters most, and it should focus on three core tenets of the vegan lifestyle – concern for health, concern for the environment, and concern for animals. This means using more phrases like ‘vegan’, ‘vegan certified’, ‘vegan diet’, ‘organic’, and ‘not tested on animals’. If your messaging appropriately impresses upon your consumers that your brand cares for these values, you will secure a loyalty that will last a long time.

Want to know how to create a marketing strategy that perfectly blends online with print? Or need help with getting your messaging right? Contact Ripley PR to help you generate some public relations buzz around your vegan brand.

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Heather Ripley, Founder/CEO

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