Marketing Plant-Based Options 101
If you’ve taken the step in adding plant-based options to your store or menu, the next step is letting consumers know they’re available through proper menu organization, entrée description, and general marketing tactics.
According to the Good Food Institute, studies have shown that when plant-based entrées are moved from a “Vegetarian” section of a menu into the general menu, sales more than double. Many companies have adapted a simple “v” next to their vegan and vegetarian items, with a corresponding key at the bottom of the page for further clarity. You're more than welcome to use the VEDGEco (V) logo to denote plant-based items on your menu. Click here to download.
Taste & Flavor
Beyond menu organization, there’s a significant opportunity to capture attention with engaging descriptions. Using positive, descriptive language that emphasizes taste and flavor are more effective than marketing dishes as the “better” or “healthier”option.
Look & Feel
It’s important to emphasize how the dish looks when it’s served to create an idea and expectation. For example, “Rainbow salad” creates a mental image of a fresh, veggie packed, and vibrant dish. Other key terms include “fresh,” “melt in mouth,” and “creamy.”
Highlighting a flavor or source is a powerful way to create positive association with a dish. For example, a Panera location switched the name of its “low-fat vegetarian black bean soup” to “Cuban black bean soup” in a month-long naming, leading to a 13% uplift in sales (World Resource Institute).
Vegan vs. Plant-Based
According to the Better Buying Lab, studies suggest using the term “plant-based” instead of “vegan,” as consumers tend to view the word as boring and expensive. Though VEDGEco knows that’s not true, it’s important to keep consumers in mind when positioning new items!
There is a vast audience that can be reached through the appropriate online channel. Posting these options to a wider audience is an engaging way to encourage viewers to try a new dish.
Engaging with accounts including local foodies, plant-based accounts, and an existing customer base is a significant and personal way to build long standing relationships with new and returning users. Ways to engage include: sharing photos of the dish, messaging and tagging accounts, using engaging hashtags, and offering complimentary food to those willing to post about it.
Facebook offers a unique opportunity to engage with local groups. Often, cities and towns have dedicated groups for foodies to join. Companies that promote their products in groups tailored to their local base with a specific interest often find success and support.
With a list of existing customers, send an email blast highlighting new menu options with an engaging dish description. This is a great opportunity to provide loyal customers with coupons or other incentives to try a new product offering.