Promoting Plant-Based Foods to all Consumers
Plant based products come with unique challenges when selling in mainstream marketplaces like Whole Foods Market, Giant, Safeway, and Harris Teeter. All brands have challenges with price points, competition, and visual placement but plant-based products have the additional challenge of a stigma associated with them. There is something to be said about the philosophy of “try before you buy” that is of utmost importance for plant-based products. Oftentimes when we tell customers our products are vegan/plant-based, we get a response of confusion.. Many customers share an opinion that often rejects the core values of plant based living. Sometimes customers may even feel personally offended that the product is “vegan” – and this is definitely not something we want! Unfortunately, this situation is common in our line of work and customers are at risk for a negative brand experience before even getting started. But have no fear -we at Plant Based Ambassadors have pulled together a list of simple techniques your company can use to keep consumer engagement high!
How do we create an inviting customer experience?
First, it’s important to note that plant-based and vegan foods cannot simply be lumped into the natural/organic food genre, and require a more specified and unique marketing narrative. This is why it’s important to keep these tips in mind while engaging with all consumers to create a better brand experience:
Stay Positive...No Matter What!: We can often feel dejected when others don't want to try our foods because of their opinions on plant-based eaters. However, there is no need to feel depressed. By staying positive and inviting to all consumers, you are letting everyone know that your product is not exclusive to one population. Whenever you suspect a conflicting or opposing narrative is being aimed at you, make sure to recognize/respect the other person's opinion and continue to talk about the positive aspects of your product. For example, we work with several companies that create vegan products that use different types of egg replacements. When customers are not a fan of the vegan concept behind the product, we always pivot toward telling them how much we love to use the product with some of our favorite foods like kale salads, roasted sweet potatoes, mushroom tacos...etc (I'm getting hungry writing this). By maintaining a positive attitude and relating it back to foods we all like, the narrative remains focused on a positive customer experience. Even if the customer does not purchase the item, the customer will have a memorable experience trying the product and may consider purchasing in the future or telling a friend about it.
Be Inclusive and Open Minded: You can do this by encouraging your field marketing team members to create visual displays that are inviting to those of all different backgrounds. For example, if you are in a region that has many bi-lingual speakers, consider creating bi-lingual signage on your display/booth or creating marketing materials that are easily translated online or in print. You can also consider placing your demonstration booth in an area that is easily accessible to individuals who have access and functional needs. For example, placing your visual display lower to the ground will make it easier for individuals who are handicap bound to read your products.
Do Your Homework! A key to being an effective marketing professional is both knowing the ins and outs of your product, and also the benefits of the ingredients in your products. For vegan/plant-based products there are endless benefits that you can always refer to! For example, I work with a lot of products containing turmeric. Turmeric is actually a fantastic spice with many anti-inflammatory qualities and is an easy way to help you feel better. Also, speaking to the sustainability and health benefits of a plant-based diet can be resourceful. I recommend having information about recent studies or talking points related to the products you are selling in case your customer wants to know more about why your product is healthy.
At Plant Based Ambassadors LLC we are constantly thinking of ways to improve the customer experience for companies who create vegan/plant-based product lines. If you have any thoughts on this topic please let us know and join our list-serve for more information in the future! If you are interested in booking our services for an upcoming event or to showcase your products at a farmer's market or grocery store please be in touch with us at email@example.com or call at 301-661-8584 and we will be in touch with you right away! Remember to follow us on Instagram @plantbasedambassadors to follow our work!