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Time to consider the conscious consumer

By Natalie Owen

16 February 2018

Today ‘mindful eating’ is impacting our society more than ever before, with the vegan and ‘flexitarian’ trend really taking over people’s lifestyles. Is this trend here to stay? And if so, how can brands ensure they don’t get left behind the vevolution?

Vegan products and lifestyle used to be a niche market whereas now it has very much become part of mainstream thinking. This is no surprise with the growing number of influencers on social media in the foodie and fitness world embracing the trend, as well as celebrity faces such as Lewis Hamilton, Mo Farah and Lucy Watson.

Due to consumer demand for healthy eating, brands are popping up everywhere to hijack the vegan trend. Pret A Manger and Costa are introducing vegan options, Subway has launched the vegan steak sandwich and Goodfella’s introduced the first-ever vegan frozen pizza (including falafel, of course!). Restaurants are becoming more vegan friendly, as well as standalone vegan friendly pop-up’s and cafés on the rise too. With consumers becoming more conscious of their health and the wider context of ethical food, brands in the industry are looking at ways to be creative and reach this growing health savvy audience.

The ‘Veganuary’ campaign is a good indicator of things to come. A month-long campaign that unites the vegan community and inspires people to pledge to be vegan for one month. The campaign features lots of different touchpoints for people to engage with – a rich campaign website with visuals and flyers, a vegan starter kit, eating out guides and a cookbook including recipes contributed to by celebrity ambassadors. Veganuary is a great campaign which continues to grow and attract new followers. This year had fantastic coverage across national print and broadcast media, as well as over 200k posts on #veganuary from campaign enthusiasts.

How can other brands learn from this? More brands are adapting their communication strategy and outreach to consumers in relation to the ‘mindful eating’ trend. Here’s a round-up of our favourite PR campaigns hijacking the trend:

  • Animal rights charity, PETA certainly grabbed attention with their PR stunt which saw passers-by on the street led to believe they drank dog milk (when actually they were given soy milk). You can watch people’s reactions here.
  • St Giles Hotel in London launched a fully plant-based room service. The hotel partnered with vegan and vegetarian food provider, BOL to meet the growing demand among hotel guests who wanted to maintain their healthy habits. Nice idea with a national hit secured on the Metro.
  • Australia are certainly setting an example in the air and on water. Australian airline, Jetstar, have recently been recognised for an award-winning vegan menu for its passengers, and this year the first-ever vegan cruise launched offering not only vegan menus, but also daily workshops, yoga, meditation and documentary nights with a plant-based theme.

With food at the centre of our culture, mindful eating is very much a movement which is here to stay. How will brands adapt? We’re sure there are more creative campaigns on the horizon, including PR stunts from opposing brands and institutions – anyone seen Februdairy yet?!