Plant-based food brands should focus on emotionally engaging with customers

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
October 01, 2021, 4:35 PM UTC

The plant-based food sector is booming, with some analysts predicting its value at $74.2 billion by 2027.

With nearly half of young Americans – between the age of 24 and 39 – identifying themselves as flexitarians, plant-based options are no longer the quirky dietary choice but a part of a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, with so many options now appearing in stores, it is becoming increasingly challenging for plant-based food brands to cut through the noise and position themselves.

To stay ahead of the competition and be relevant among consumers, plant-based food brands need to think beyond category and communicate with customers in a disruptive and memorable way. Consider Oatly’s cartons – sitting alongside comic manifestos surrounding the company’s work and environmental mission – designed to be witty and opposing the “preachy vegan” stereotypes.

Brands should not let their product story drive the brand. Instead, narrate the brand with a symbolic story that audiences can connect with on a subconscious level. Think beyond the “plant-based food” category and engage with customers on an emotional level. Tapping into cultures and communities outside of the plant-based category can further help these companies drive loyalty and future growth anchored in feeling over function.

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