Vegan Marketing: Top 5 Food Trends to Watch in 2021

Meat-free alternatives and veganism gained considerable traction throughout 2020 in light of people’s unprecedented focus on health and sustainability. The many benefits that consumers’ link to eating less meat – including saving money, improving overall health, feeling good, maintaining weight, and reducing the risk of disease; are likely to become even more attractive in the aftermath of this crisis. 

In addition, the increased consumer consideration of environmental issues is likely to give added impetus for consumers to adopt a plant-based diet. As a result, the vegan market is bound to experience significant growth in 2021. 

In this blog, we outline the 5 key trends shaping the food industry in the upcoming years and discuss how vegan brands can take advantage of them in their marketing efforts.

Key Food Trends to Follow

Home cooking gains popularity

With fewer time constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic for many, scratch cooking is slowly becoming one of the at-home pastimes that people are turning to or discovering for the first time to help them through this difficult period. Furthermore, for many who find themselves under financial strain as a result of the lockdown, scratch cooking also has an economic appeal. 

In other words, the lockdown has presented a great opportunity for people to gain experience and confidence cooking at home, meaning that many will be keen on building on this foundation and putting their newly acquired culinary skills to good use over the years ahead. 

In fact, a Mintel research revealed that the virus has created a long-term interest in home cooking, with 55% of the nation saying they plan on cooking more from scratch after the coronavirus outbreak than they used to.

How to Respond 

Having this in mind, vegan food brands should focus on promoting home cooking by highlighting all the emotional benefits that come from this activity – such as enjoyment, comfort and pride, as well as the functional and financial aspects of it. 

One big barrier that vegan brands will have to overcome though is the home cooking fatigue which is likely to have set in during the lockdown. Mintel reports that 31% of under-25s are concerned about getting bored of eating the same food as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

This presents an opportunity for vegan brands and retailers to provide meal inspiration to those who have exhausted their usual repertoires of meals. 

EatingWell, for example, recently ran a social media campaign inviting people to a 30-day vegan dish challenge. This provides daily inspiration for a wide range of ‘healthy plant-packed recipes and hacks to make it vegan for a month’.

EatingWell 30-day vegan dish challenge Pinterest Campaign

Self-treating as an essential feel-good factor 

The perceived need for low-cost mood boosters has perhaps never been greater, particularly in the midst of the uncertainty and political division sparked by Brexit. In a Mintel survey, 28% of people in the UK say they are eating more treats since the outbreak, with people aged 16-24 increasing their treats consumption by 40%. 

However, on the flip side, self-treating is likely to be hindered to a certain extent by the greater emphasis many people have been placing on healthily eating since the start of the pandemic. This is likely to see some people replacing unhealthy treats with better-for-you options such as foods labelled as vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO etc. Furthermore, home baking can also tap into the heightened demand for indulgent treats.

How to Respond

With the increased demand for healthier treats and a shift to plant-based diets, vegan desserts are bound for further growth. This means that vegan food brands should focus on satisfying the sweet tooth of vegans and non-vegans alike, by offering vegan home baking recipes and promoting desserts with health benefits and nutritional value.

This includes vegan desserts with functional ingredients such as matcha, goji, turmeric, black garlic, dragon fruit, hemp, chia, beets, manuka honey, ginger, maca, and more.

Vegan Brand Marketing On Instagram Healthy Chia Pudding

Emotional wellbeing is in the limelight

COVID-19 isolation measures have escalated consumers’ focus on mental health, with levels of stress, anxiety, and feelings of sadness and loneliness surging. 

To illustrate, a study led by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain) and Open Evidence, has revealed that 57% of the people in the UK felt down, depressed or hopeless about the future due to the coronavirus crisis.

How to Respond

This trend demands that vegan food brands forge strong links between their brand and emotional wellbeing in order to appeal to consumers. The marketing theme of treats and bringing people together, for instance, has been gaining a lot of traction lately. 

One memorable example of this is McVitie’s 2019 ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign in partnership with mental health charity, Mind. The aim of this campaign was to promote positive mental health by shedding light on the issue and encouraging people across the UK to “get talking”.

Marketing campaigns around vegan products with similar sentiments would be very relevant in today’s reality of social isolation due to the pandemic and would likely receive lots of positive reactions.

Boosting the immune system becomes a priority

Many consumers are looking for health-boosting nutrition more than ever in order to help protect themselves and their family from the risk of the spreading disease. Within this, the importance of strengthening the immune system has come to the foreground. 

66% of UK adults believe that consuming foods rich in Vitamin C supports the immune system, and 37% say that the pandemic has prompted them to add more nutrients that support the immune system to their diet. 

This is reflected in a Google Trends analysis, the results from which reveals the profound impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ interest in immune-boosting ingredients and herbs globally. The reported data shows a marked rise in searches involving keywords such as Vitamin E, C, D, A, B, turmeric, zinc, ginger, selenium, curcumin, coffee, and garlic. 

Vegan Marketing functional & immune-boosting ingredients - ginger & turmeric How to Respond

“Immune boosting” is a trending topic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, can be used to support sales of products with added health benefits, particularly those which are fortified with vitamins linked to the immune system such as Vitamin C. 

Social media and Instagram, in particular, have played a major role in promoting this trend, with data showing that between April 2020 and May 2020, the popular hashtag #immunebooster increased on Instagram posts by over 46%. 

Interest in this area will likely help vegan brands to market their ‘immune-boosting’ products – both food, supplements or skincare, and further enhance the link between wellness and veganism through their content.

Online food delivery is here to stay

In recent years the rise of takeaway delivery services has completely disrupted the way we eat and order food, and the coronavirus outbreak has only served to accelerate this trend. 

The forced on-premise closures of pubs and restaurants in 2020 meant that the only way for people to replace ‘eating-out’ occasions was by relying on takeaway food delivery services. 

And although lockdown restrictions will eventually be relaxed, the demand for food delivery services is expected to remain. According to the Global Web Index, digital delivery sales are projected to grow at an annual rate of 22% in the next three years, meaning that people will continue to use these services beyond the pandemic. 

Vegan Online Food Delivery Uber Eats

How to Respond 

The increased demand for online food delivery, hand in hand with the rise in interest in plant-based diets, is likely to create a lucrative opportunity for vegan brands to offer food delivery subscriptions and meal boxes. 

Industry leaders like Allplants and Vibrant Vegan are already offering ready-to-eat meals for delivery, and many big chains and independent vegan businesses have their meals available to order on major delivery apps. In fact, recent data shows that in the past year, UK’s Deliveroo has seen a huge 187% increase in vegan orders, with almost 30% of main meal orders during the lockdown being meat-free. 

This information signals a hungry appetite for new vegan and veggie dishes that vegan food brands can satisfy.

To sum it up…

The pandemic has been the catalyst for huge opportunities in the vegan market, characterised by a heightened interest in physical health, emotional wellbeing, and the environment. These changes in consumer behaviour have generated immediate benefits to those already adapting to the new consumer needs, and are likely to leave lasting legacies in the long-term. 

This highlights the need for vegan brands and retailers to act fast and respond to new trends in their industry with effective marketing strategies aimed at capturing the demand.

How effective is your strategy? Our team can help you respond to the rapid changes in consumer preferences in your industry due to the COVID-19 crisis through impactful digital marketing strategies. For more information, please contact our team through the form below!

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How To Stay On Top Of Social Media – Part 2

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With many celebrity users utilising this platform it gives you the opportunity to post up to 140 characters in short messages know as Tweets. Sharing pictures and links is also possible and it has been used as a successful marketing tool as well as a great way of interacting with customers.

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Many businesses are now realising the potential of this and the likes of McDonalds and Nike have over 1 million followers on their main pages with several other pages falling under their umbrella too. Companies such as O2 now even offer customer service and advice over twitter.

We are going to look at how Twitter can benefit you and your business and the key points to ensure you maximise the impact of your Tweets.

In order to reach as much of your potential audience as possible timing your Tweets is essential. There are several tools available for you to look over the analytics and reaction to your Tweets. From this you can see the patterns of your followers and plan a schedule. Again, there are many tools at your disposal to help with this. You can set up programmes to post on your behalf so you know the messages you want to send will get out at the right times regardless of how busy you are or if you have access to a computer at these times.

Producing good and interesting content that appeals to your market will make followers more likely to ‘Retweet’ your post. This then allows everyone following them to see your original post, a great way of spreading your message and attracting new followers.

As always with any form of social media, interaction is key to your success. If people have taken the time to get in contact with you or respond to your post, replying is not only polite but will make them feel engaged and have a closer identity with your brand.

Having links to your social media accounts on your website is a great way of showing that you are well connected and open to interaction. Making good use of these platforms will help you establish your brand and become more identifiable in the market place so taking the time to do it right can be extremely beneficial.

 

How to Stay On Top Of Social Media – Part 1

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The more astute online marketers had long taken advantage of this way to communicate to people who had actively sought them out but now that ability has been cut to reach just a small percentage.

Of course you can always pay to get sponsored posts on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter but there is a general feeling from users that these are the junk mail of social media, clogging up posts.

They are effective to some degree in promoting a message but getting natural posts to go viral and create a buzz is a much better way to engage people.

How then can we make full use from social media? The simplest way for me is this, Interaction. Interacting with users is a great way of spreading brand awareness through people mentioning your brand as well as reposting, sharing, re-tweeting.

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Creating a good balance is equally important because posting too often can frustrate people and lead to you clogging up news feeds the way that people tend to deal with that is to block or unlike the page.

Not posting enough or lack of interaction can also mean that people lose interest; it can also mean that you drop out of people’s news feeds. Another change that Facebook made was making pages invisible unless you interact or click on ‘Show in newsfeed’ which many people do not.

It goes without saying that this only really scratches the surface of good techniques to deal with your companies social media but it is good practice and can get good results.

How to Avoid a Political Uprising using Social Media?

Social Media Political Uprising

So, apparently Ed Miliband thinks the world can be fixed with social media. And while we’re not 100{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} sure that world peace can be achieved through Facebook and Twitter, we can see where a government could help smooth out some highly unpopular issues before they spiral into a global outcry.

Let’s face it, if you are running a country there is nothing quite as embarrassing as a political uprising. When whispers about your ‘daring’ choice of headwear and ‘stern’ treatment of opposition supporters are making their rounds at diplomatic dinners things are bad enough, but when you have a full on political uprising hitting international headlines, it’s nothing short of humiliating.

Like most problems of this scale it is best to avert disaster, and you can often stop a slow burning situation from turning in to a major problem with social media.  Now we’re not suggesting that any facebook savvy dictators take tips on how to rule their land through this, but any powerful body that needs public support can improve relations with the people who matter by investing in social media. And this could be a government, corporation, new business or even your local council.

So, here is our a tongue-in-cheek -guide to using social media to prevent a political uprising…..or just some useful tips on how to use social media to improve public relations –

  1. Monitor – A clever mix of automated and manual social media monitoring is required.  Knowledge is power, what are people talking about?  What topics are trending?  What is the general sentiment towards current political issues?   The identification of hot topics can be used to define policies that will please the people.  The identification of unpopular issues can be used as a basis for corrective action.
  1. Map – Mapping the social media landscape and its key players is vital if the social media and real world is to be better understood.  Identification of key influencers with large followings, high authority, and high interactions would allow better management of difficult political situations.  Often political and social problems exist for a long time and it is only when a small handful of influencers take up the cause does an unpopular change gather momentum and becomes a big issue.  By keeping track of the overall social media landscape and developing a thorough understanding of the people or organisations that influence or control different areas, paves the way for stage three.
  1. Interact – This is perhaps the most valuable and most difficult stage of the process.  It involves using the historical and real time data to form offline and online strategy, while taking immediate action on social media platforms.  For example, if a region of a country is voicing concern or anger over a particular issue, the problem can be met head on at various levels.  At an offline level, resources could be diverted from a more content region to improve conditions and support in the unhappy region.  On a positive social media level an alternative side of the story can be put across, by effectively engaging the key influencers, rather than a low level scatter gun approach.  Strictly for arguments sake influencers could be persuaded to change their views.

This three step process barely scratches the surface on what would be a vastly complex and time consuming enterprise.  It is vital to remember that social media is an uncontrollable freedom of speech monster.

While it can be monitored, mapped and guided through interactions, it can easily backfire, as any community can act in unpredictable ways.  There is also a large moral question attached to monitoring any group in such a way.  What one person considers to be listening to the voice of the people in a bid to make a better world could be view by another as Orwellian engineering.  None the less, there lies a great opportunity for governments or companies alike to find out what its people want or need, sometimes before they even know.  Political or consumer un-rest can be avoided by engaging with the affected people in the problem areas online and meeting their needs in the real world.

On a political (or corporate) level an advanced social media monitoring campaign could be a powerful tool in the correct hands.  Even just at an information gathering level the potential benefits are plentiful.  The big question that must be asked of any government or company aiming to attempt this is: do they have the understanding of such a modern and fluid technology and the restraint to use it wisely?

Drop us a line!