With consumer-driven interest in vegan food and products climbing every year, it’s easy to see why many restaurants, food companies and other businesses want to begin offering items for the vegan market. Isn’t the vegan market, though, just a tiny niche? Actually, no. While the number of vegans is still a small (but rapidly growing) portion of the population, interest in animal-free items is accelerating from all corners of the consumer sphere: From those who want to eat less meat for health reasons to those who don’t want to purchase products made with animal testing for ethical reasons. Vegan dishes may also be seen as being not only healthier, but more imaginative and interesting. Even if someone isn’t a vegan, offering quality choices that happen to be vegan is a win for businesses, positioning them as being responsive to demand, modern and adaptive to all consumers. Further, evidence from restaurant, prepared foods and product sectors show that the interest in vegan options is on an upward trajectory with no sign of leveling off.
Second, making some easy swaps to create vegan food options or creating more ambitious launches of product lines means that the business will get the promotional muscle of the very tech-savvy and engaged vegan market, which skews towards people in their 20s and 30s, many of whom are very influential and love to share recommendations of what they enjoy on social media and beyond, from veggie burgers to new cruelty-free skincare lines. Getting this powerful promotion from the vegan market gives your brand a free and invaluable boost to their networks, which may or may not be vegan but always on the lookout for new things to try.
What’s the hitch? Navigating ingredients, food preparation dos-and-don’ts, marketing strategies and other aspects of launching vegan items or product lines can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Indeed, sometimes launching new vegan options can fall flat or, in the era of social media, even harm a brand from a PR standpoint if they don’t understand the nuances of delving into the vegan market.
Let’s contrast two quick examples of this. One would be Business 1 (B1). B1 is a small restaurant chain that wants to add some vegan options to their menu. They add a veggie burger and a salad entrée but the veggie burger comes on a bun that isn’t vegan and with cheese that must be withheld for vegans; the salad comes with eggs and cheese that must be removed to make it vegan. The recipes had been developed with those ingredients and anyone who orders these dishes will still be paying for the animal-based ingredients without a replacement offered. Vegetarians and omnivores can still order these new items, but the reception is pretty unremarkable. Vegans don’t come in and, if they do, they are disappointed to learn how they must modify dishes to eat there. The staff is also not educated on how items must be changed for vegans and offers inconsistent guidance to those trying to order it, which creates confusion, distrust and irritation for the diner. The new menu items also weren’t designed with vegans in mind so they also don’t photograph well when they have the non-vegan items removed and the restaurant won’t get much promotional leverage. Vegans will probably not return to Business 1.
Let’s contrast this with Business 2. Like B1, B2 is a non-vegan restaurant but wants to add some vegan items. They also update their menu to offer a burger and an entrée salad but, understanding the ins-and-outs of vegan dining better, they are able to not only find suitable buns and vegan cheese for the burger but they develop a salad anyone can enjoy. Not only that, B2 is able to look at their whole menu and find quick, easy swaps to create vegan versions of different menu items so now vegans come in, there are a variety of choices. When they get the word out, B2 gets a great boost on social media and this new market, which never came in before, has given B2 new life, including a substantial boost in customers and community goodwill.
It turns out, with some curiosity, willingness to learn and flexibility, businesses can reach the influential vegan market and those that invest in this direction can reap benefits that extend well beyond that investment.
Here is why you should hire our Plant-Based Consulting team to help your business evolve towards this increasingly lucrative and inevitable market:
• We have been leaders and innovators in the vegan community for more than 20 years and we have a deep first-hand understanding of the vegan community, economy and culture, including the issues and motivations that drive vegan consumers:
• VeganStreet.com is one of the first comprehensive vegan websites when it was launched in 1998.
Over the last two decades, we have worked with dozens of vegan companies and organizations and helped launch several successful vegan brands.
• We are a call away to many movers-and-shakers in the vegan movement, from culture and media to businesses, and we have frequently spoken about vegan marketing and communications to crowds around the country.
• We created and maintain one of the nation’s prominent vegan expos (Chicago VeganMania), that has connected hundreds of restaurants and companies with new customers and vendors.
• As Vegan Street, we have hundreds of thousands of followers on our social media platforms and we can utilize this – as well as our trusted reputation – to promote your vegan options.
What we can do for you:
• For restaurants, we can develop recipes and offer an analysis of menus to find options that are delicious and fit what is already available in the kitchen as well as is consistent with the rest of the menu.
• We can demystify ingredients and help businesses understand what is and is not vegan.
• We can identify areas of food prep that might be overlooked by restaurants but are (easily remedied) deal breakers to many vegans.
• We can identify ways to promote to your local vegan niche or launch a national campaign.
•We can show you howto create and market plant-based menu items anyone would like to order, not just vegans.
We offer a free 30-minute consultation to understand needs to new potential clients. Contact us for more information!
@2018 Vegan Street Media
@2018 Vegan Street Media