Mainstream diners put off by terms like 'vegan' and 'meat-free'

Photo: Adobe Sparks

New research from the World Resources Institute suggests using terms like vegan or meat-free on menus makes people less likely to buy plant-based products.

The report by the Institute's Better Buy Lab, is called It’s All In A Name: How To Boost The Sales Of Plant-Based Menu Items.

The findings suggest people associate the term "meat-free" with being less than meat, while the term "vegan" is associated with being "different from me".

In 2017, the Better Buying Lab commissioned Brandwatch, a leading social media analytics company, to scan 15.4 million posts across Twitter, Instagram, blogs and forums from Britain and the United States that included references to plant-based, vegan and vegetarian food.

The term "vegan" was more than twice as likely to be used in negative contexts as "plant-based."

Edward Crook, Global Research vice president at Brandwatch said:

"Our analysis found the vegan lexicon to be quite divisive online, and it may prevent some people from experimenting with the growing range of plant-based proteins available.
"To broaden mainstream appeal, new language is needed that avoids an ‘us-them' mentality."

The research suggests people are more likely to buy the same product if brands highlight provenance and flavor as well as emphasizing the look and feel of food.

You can read the full report HERE.

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