It all started out with attempting to find healthier options to certain food choices in my diet. This then led to a more overall approach of, “which diet is the healthiest on the planet for me?” which in reality is more along the lines of, “how can I get skinny?” (Even though I’d hate to admit that now). After intense research, countless documentaries, and hours surfing the web I knew my plan of action. I was determined to completely change my diet and lifestyle and go vegan. Nobody was phased when I decided to go vegetarian, but once I threw the word “vegan” out there all I received were negative responses and specifically, “don’t do that.” Well I did do that and I haven’t looked back since. I haven’t touched meat in a year (besides cleaning up after my roommate’s dirty dishes) and in April it will be a year since I dropped dairy and meat from my diet for good.
6% of the US population is currently vegan and is purchasing meat and dairy alternatives. However, for a vegan brand to pursue distribution of its products while also generating a profit, seems difficult with a target market of only 6% of the country. This is where vegan brands such as Daiya, Earth Balance, and VEGA need to expand their overall growth through the strategy of market expansion.
This article states that research has shown that 36% of the US prefers or uses milk or meat alternatives, which is a clear gap from the 6% that consider themselves vegan. Consumers have also suggested that they associate vegan products with clean ingredients, weight loss, and environmental/social responsibility. With these associations the market of consumers purchasing vegan products can drastically expand. I don’t know about you but this country seems obsessed with losing weight or maintaining a slim figure. The idea that vegan products contain clean ingredients and promote weight loss (most, if not, all do) creates a clear connection to individuals that eat any type of diet and are also concerned about their weight or the ingredients in their foods. This could include individuals that eat vegetarian, pescatarian, or even those that follow the Standard American Diet, (its acronym is SAD for a reason).
Veganism is not weird or underground these days. Vegan or vegetarian diets were mentioned 4.3 million times in 90 days on social media in comparison to Coca-Cola, which was mentioned 4.1 million times in that same 3 month time period. Many people that don’t follow a plant based diet are showing an increased interest in what goes into their food. For these vegan brands to expand and appeal to this new market they should increase advertisement that the products are healthy, promote weight loss, and are free from nasty chemicals or genetically modified ingredients. In order to combat the negative stigma of, “oh you’re vegan, that’s so weird,” or “ew, it’s vegan? MUST be gross!” these brands can put “plant based” on food labels instead of “vegan.” In doing so this would create the idea that the product isn’t just for vegans and that anybody can purchase it.
For the future I really hope Daiya, Earth Balance, and VEGA brands attempt to incorporate these techniques into their advertising and achieve a successful market expansion of those that are not vegan. This suggestion for these companies isn’t just about their success for me. I really would love to spread the message of veganism and what it truly means to me (definitely not just about being skinny anymore). With this expansion I hope the message is able to spread further than the vegan community. Although this new market may not fully change their diets or understand the message behind veganism it’s exciting to see people give it a chance. Vegan is Going Mainstream Trend Data Suggests