How the Planet and some highly effective marketing are behind the recent plant-based takeover.
In recent years, plant-based food products have scaled a noticeable uptrend in supermarkets all over the country. Plant-based meats, snacks, and cheeses have all made their way to mainstream commercial supermarkets. You name the product, and there is likely a plant-based alternative available. Vegetarians and vegans who have followed said diets for decades can attest to the recent influx. Only a small fraction of the plant-based options available today were as accessible, even as early as ten years ago.
You may be wondering why the almost sudden spike in plant-based food products has occurred. We’ll be examining the two top reasons behind the recent plant-based takeover: the planet and some highly effective marketing.
We are currently living in the most environmentally conscious society of modern times. With that, many individuals from all demographics have decided to take matters into their own hands to limit their harm to the environment. One of many ways to approach this is through our diet, and plant-based food products are an effective option.
Plant-based products contribute to less carbon dioxide emissions; a leading greenhouse gas that is accelerating climate change and its impacts. It has been estimated that a global shift to a plant-based diet could reduce mortality and greenhouse gases caused by food production by 10% and 70%, respectively, by 2050.
It has been estimated that a global shift to a plant-based diet could reduce mortality and greenhouse gases caused by food production by 10% and 70%, respectively, by 2050.
Meat and dairy industries simply cannot compete in terms of environmental compatibility. A report posted by the United Nations Environment Program says that “animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.”
Important natural resources are able to be conserved at greater rates through plant-based productions when compared to meat and dairy industries. Resources like water, energy, and land are all noted as being more sustainably managed through plant-based agriculture. In fact, adopting a meat-free diet can cut individual water footprints in half; upwards of 55%.
The United Nations Environment Assembly claims that plant-based burgers require between 75–99 percent less water, 93–95 percent less land, and generate 87–90 percent fewer emissions than regular beef burgers. And this is just in comparing one plant-based food item.
Suggestions to include more plant-based options into our diets and lifestyles has been backed by years of studies from major organizations, which has certainly given marketers a leg up when promoting plant-based products. These suggestions, spread by word of mouth and social media, as well as the environmental benefits place plant-based food productions in an optimal range for growth.
Plant-based meat alternative markets alone are predicted to grow by double within the next five years. By year 2025, this market can expect to grow at a rate of 15% per year, establishing the market value at roughly $28 billion. In comparison, the global meat market is only predicted to grow by 3% per year.
The plant-based food market is overflowing with potential not only due to its new emergence, but due to consumer demographics. While people from all ages have taken interest in vegetarianism, veganism, or simply including more plant-based options into their diet, the growth in vegetarianism and veganism, especially, is supported by a young population.
This population is being driven by young people in the 15-34 year age category. Only 14% of plant-based eaters are aged 65 and over. This demographic should be prioritized when marketing plant-based options; specifically in advertising campaigns, packaging design considerations, and logo and slogan creation.
Marketers of plant-based food products know their audience and demographics. To be successful, it’s important to use language that an audience responds well to. Words like, cruelty-free, vegan, meatless, and dairy-free all do well, depending on the audience. For a more inclusive marketing strategy, if that is the goal, using the word ‘vegan-friendly’, can sound more inclusive for those who are not vegan, and may avoid purchasing a product since they do not follow a strict vegan diet. However, it still gives vegans the message that a product is safe for them.
Since many are turning to plant-based products for environmental reasons, a business may consider providing their businesses certifications on their packaging, such as an organic certification stamp. Others may decide to limit their plastic packaging, or opt for biodegradable or recyclable packaging (making this obvious on the packaging for consumers) to market themselves better with a more environmentally conscious audience.
In our digital age, products are often shared through word of mouth, via posts, stories, video content, and other social media facets. Businesses should take advantage of this. Certainly, plant-based products especially do well on social media, and a business should have a strong social media presence to deliver updates on their products, missions, charity donations, and environmental impacts for their consumers.
Many plant-based brands have worked with influencers to share their products to a more niched audience, such as in the health and wellness and fitness realms. Video content, becoming superior to photo posts, are a more entertaining way of sharing products and reviews, which can assist in building social proof.
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