So, How Much Is Vegan Truly Converting Consumers?
In our latest study, we sought to test how much emerging concepts hitting the mainstream are likely to translate into trial, purchase intent and commercial success.
Vegan is a trend that has fast been adopted by restaurateurs, food manufacturers and retailers across the UK. It’s perceived to be a highly-lucrative area for new product development. However, aside from the noise being made in the FMCG sector and trade press, how ready are mainstream UK consumers to adopt it into their everyday lives and how differentiating and value-adding is Vegan to product ranges? Our latest research suggests that simply introducing or reformulating a product as Vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be onto a commercial winner and VYPR is helping brands to identify the pitfalls to avoid.
In case you’re unclear, vegetarianism refers to a diet based on plants and grains, but may still include eggs and dairy. Like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat any animal flesh. But, they also leave dairy foods, eggs and any other animal-derived items off their plates and out of their lives altogether.
We tested a range of products and found that the Vegan badge – marketed as a headline differentiator – doesn’t necessarily translate into strong purchase intent (today at least). For instance, 69% of the VYPR panel would purchase a product marketed as a Vegetarian Ready Meal, but when marketed as a Vegan Ready Meal – and all other things being equal – the percentage of consumers willing to purchase the product reduced dramatically to just 49%.
In the biscuits category, we also found that the Vegan badge added no value to the purchase intent of consumers, resulting in 44% of consumers willing to purchase the product tested in both cases. Vegan or not, this potentially suggests a more fundamental rejection of the product that a trending concept would add little value to solving or elevating.
There is undoubtedly growth in plant-based and Vegan foods. Our research suggests, however, that putting a Vegan logo on a product will not necessarily make it more popular. In our view, companies need to think carefully about how plant-based foods integrate with peoples’ everyday lives – whether you’re a practicing Vegan or not – and understand whether marketing them as “suitable for Vegans” works better than headlining them as Vegan.
It may be that the Vegan badge dissuades some people from purchasing, as they see it as not being a product developed for them (perhaps akin to gluten-free products). Or, maybe the concept of Vegan products and their wider benefits beyond the animal protection movement itself (e.g. being perhaps suitable to those with certain allergies) is not broadly understood by everyday consumers. For many, it may be that Vegan should be a secondary message to help consumers navigate and make the right choice, rather than it being flagged as a headline selling point.
Either way, VYPR can help you to test and iterate your way through the minefield and make sure that every product in your range is optimised for purchase intent, both before it hits the shelves or to explain why it might not be flying off them when launched.
Read on or contact us here.
Image courtesy of Avant-Garde Vegan.
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