Did you make a month-long commitment to a plant-based diet as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day? If you did, you’re not the only one!

Working in the marketing industry means there is no shortage of trends or clever ways to capitalise on and attract a brand-new audience.

Reports detailing the massive environmental, economic, and human consequences of global warming have come at a fast and furious pace, and our excessive meat consumption and waste have come under fire.

With 2019 named the ‘Year of the Vegan’ by the Economist, it’s no surprise that the start of 2020 saw over 300,000 official sign-ups to Veganuary as more and more people might be convinced to ‘dabble’ in the vegan lifestyle. As well as a monumental number of sign-ups, The Grocer reported that meat sales slumped by £184.6m in 2019, therefore retailers will be clambering to tap into the growing vegan market.

Some of the nation’s favourite eateries and well-known brands are also making it easier for us to make the switch by introducing vegan alternatives to our favourite treats – Gregg’s vegan sausage roll and KFC’s imposter burger to name just a couple.

Do you think the marketing strategies used to push these products out make an impact on whether you consume them? Do you think the clever adaptations will encourage more people to take the plunge? Did any of the campaigns strike an emotional chord with you?

Here are a few of our favourite Veganuary campaigns:

  1. Gregg’s Vegan Sausage Roll

Who knew the social media storm a sausage roll could create? The campaign video showed the sausage roll in a light that could only be compared to a new product launch in the tech industry. The sausage roll was also sent to high-profile journalists for their review, with many taking to their social media accounts to applaud the franchise.

Due to the unprecedented success of the vegan sausage roll, the vegan steak bake was released a few months later and was met with 20-minute queues.

For this campaign, Gregg’s knocked their social media strategy out of the park. Their tongue-in-cheek responses to nay-sayers and the infamous debate with Piers Morgan over Twitter meant Gregg’s, thanks to Piers, managed to catapult their product even further through news outlets that previously may have not been interested.

The vegan sausage roll was the fastest-selling new product Greggs had launched in six years.

       2. Plant Kitchen – Marks & Spencer

 The high street retailer launched ‘Plant Kitchen’ on the 2nd of January 2019. They ensured their range of more than 60 items appealed to vegans, flexitarians and people who may just be looking to reduce their meat intake.

Their clever use of stylish packaging ensures the range embodies a fresh new design, the modern ‘stamp logo’ look and ‘street food’ appeal could perhaps work to attract the younger generation to their range, possibly an audience Marks & Spencer have yet to engage with.

By including ‘fast’ food in the range such as Dirty Fries, ‘Nozerella’ Sticks, Cauliflower Popcorn, Mac & Cheese Bites and BBQ Jackfruit Pizza it elevates Marks & Spencer as staying ahead of the curve, having ‘dirty’ vegan options on our high street makes the brand more exciting.

Plant Kitchen and Marks & Spencer continue to release new dishes, keeping up with the wants and needs of the vegan community. They now offer a range of decadent vegan desserts including Churros, Chocolate Mousse and Mango & Passionfruit Coconut Panna Cotta.

      3. McDonalds Vegan-friendly Happy Meal

 McDonald’s got interactive with their latest venture, the contents of its new vegan-friendly happy meal have been chosen by children and their parents by working in collaboration with the Vegan Society.

After previously poking fun at food items such as quinoa and kale and not having a single vegan or vegetarian option on the menu, McDonald’s decided to listen to their customers and the growing family/lifestyle blogger community and introduce new vegan-friendly options.

This shows the growing demand for veggie food doesn’t stop with adults, the next generation is becoming more aware of their options and how their actions might have long-term effects.

According to the latest research by the Vegan Society conducted in 2018, there are around 600,000 vegans in Britain, we imagine that has risen dramatically over the last two years. Food manufacturers, brands and restaurants will have to seriously consider how they continue to appeal to this growing market. Whether it’s attractive packaging, clever PR strategies and campaigns or talking directly to the younger generation, brands may find people need less convincing to try vegan options but it’s how they stand out from the crowd in 2020 that matters.


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