growing plant-based brands

plantAbove is a collaborative of senior-level brand consultants. We help move plant-based businesses, organizations and causes to the next level. New clients

Grassroots to Mainstream
Plant-based brands have come a long way since Tofurky launched over 35 years ago. However, there is still much to do to create an equal marketplace for ‘veggiebrands.’ A trip to the local store shows that most lack the strength of their animal counterparts and are often hidden away in the smaller ‘specialty’ section. As a result, they are not seen as a serious option and often struggle as grassroots operations. If they are to be accepted as ‘mainstream’ offerings, then they must counter the amateur, homegrown clich├ęs often associated with this category. A modern, more professional brand image is required. The success enjoyed by so many mass commercial brands is available to the plant-based—but only if they are willing to adapt the same brand-centric model. 

Brand Challenge
The challenge facing the veggie cause is confusion: vegan/vegetarian/lacto-vegetarian/ovo-vegetarian/ovo-lacto-vegetarian/pesce-vegetarian etc. etc. And if that doesn’t create enough confusion for plant-based prospects, there are hundreds of poorly branded organizations, products, services and causes. Yet the animal product folks seem to have a more united front—like they all got together and put in some real effort into their brand and how they could better position themselves to busy people. And it has paid off—literally. Their messages are clear and memorable: “Get Cracking,” “Got Milk?” are household slogans. Such phrases would overpower any mass veggie-promoting tagline—if there were any. Many parents falsely believe that a cow’s milk is the best source of calcium for their child. This is the power of Brand Dairy. So why can’t the veggie pushers get it right? Part of the problem is funding. The animal-product marketing orgs simply have more of it. However, the plant-based movement lacks not only the dollars, but also the ability to produce high-quality brand messaging that the general public will take seriously. Time to get cracking! – Errol Saldanha