Strategic branding converts meat lovers to plant-based diets

Sorry food retailers – plant-based products are here to stay and you should consider implementing plant-based in your product mix. After A&W released its Beyond Meat Burger, fast-food chains like Tim Horotons and Subway followed suit and the trend isn’t slowing down. However, language means everything when it comes to selling plant-based products, so strategic branding is crucial to succeed in converting meat lovers and appealing to plant fans.

Just how popular is a plant-based diet?

According to a study conducted by Dalhousie University, approximately 10% of Canadians are vegan or vegetarian which amounted to roughly 2.3 million vegetarians and 850,000 vegans. In the grand scheme of things, that may not seem like an awfully large number, but again – take a look at fast-food chain marketing campaigns. They’re in the plant-based diet hot seat. 

At Caddle we wanted to further test the plant-based trend. Here is what we found from our 8,800 respondent panel:

  • 13.5% of Canadians currently follow a plant-based diet 
  • 43.4% of Canadians are interested in reducing the amount of meat in their diet 
  • 45.7% of Gen Z’ers are interested in reducing the amount of meat in their diet 
  • 45.3% of Millennials are interested in reducing the amount of meat in their diet

What’s holding consumers back from converting to a plant-based diet?

“Tastes like chicken!”

Those are the three magical words you want consumers to be saying when they try plant-based. The No.1 reason why our panel said they’d struggle in reducing the amount of meat they eat is because they like the taste too much.

  • 30.6% of Canadians like the taste of meat too much 
  • 30.3% of Millennials like the taste of meat too much 
  • 32.7% of Gen Z’ers like the taste of meat too much 

So how do you convert meat lovers to a plant-based diet?

Talk dirty to me

Heh – get it? Cause plants grow in dirt!

GreenBiz suggests a solution to the struggle of getting consumers to switch to plant-based diets: change the language used to describe plant-based foods. 

During a two year study, the World Resources Institute’s Better Buying Lab evaluated which words persuade consumers to buy plant-based.


Essentially what they gathered was:

  • “Meat-free” means less of what meat-eaters like
  • “Vegan” means “different from me
  • “Vegetarian” means “healthy — but unsatisfying — food”
  • “Healthy restrictive” language such as “low fat” has low appeal


So the rising demand for plant-based has your brand in the hot seat eh? Our insights, along with other industry research suggests that you should start marketing your plant-based brand in a sexy way and have it taste just like chicken (or any other sort of meat)!

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