The number of Americans calling themselves "vegan" grew from 1% to 6% between 2014 and 2017: a 600% increase, according to GlobalData. That’s still a pretty small portion of the total, but other data reveal growing interest in plant-based foods by consumers who don’t consider themselves vegetarian or vegan. Sales of plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods grew 17% over the past year, while overall U.S. food sales rose only 2%, according to data from Nielsen and the Good Food Institute. The market for such foods totaled more than $3.7 billion in 2017.
Last year, according to The Economist, a whopping 25 percent of Americans 25 to 34 years old identified as vegan or vegetarian. The recent spike in US sales of vegan foods is largely attributable to millennials, who are increasingly going vegan. Whether for animal welfare, health, environmental reasons, or to improve world hunger, more Americans are turning to a meat-free, plant-based diet.
To summarize, the demand for vegan products and brands are exploding. It's no surprise, then, that smart marketers are riding this wave!
Meat alternative brands like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Good Foods, and many others are grabbing early market share as fully vegan businesses. However, even non-vegan brands, restaurants, and food manufacturers are offering vegan options free of animal products. Not just in the more vegan-dense cities like Los Angeles, Portland, and San Francisco, but all across the county.
So what strategies can you apply to reach this market, grow vegan product sales, and expand your vegan brand? Read on for all the answers, and if you're looking for digital marketing agency support then get in touch!
Vegan Social Media Marketing
Facebook & Instagram Ads targeting a vegan audience
- Facebook/Instagram is an incredibly effective channel for reaching vegans. Simply create an ad audience comprised of "vegan interest" and followers of vegan content. Create an ad message that specifically calls out your vegan offering and points to a similar landing page.
Pinterest Ads targeting vegan posts and topics
- Users on Pinterest are shoppers, more so than any other social media channel in my experience. Food, design, and fashion are the 3 big topics, so there is loads of vegan content already. Pinterest ads are much less competitive than ads on other platforms too, yielding lower CPCs and less ads crowding the platform. I recommend creating an ad campaign targeting other vegan posts so you're getting in front of the right audiences as they're browsing. You'll want to create a vegan-specific pin to promote which leads to a high conversion landing page offering the product from your pin.
Vegan Influencer Marketing
Product Reviews with Vegan Influencers
- There are literally thousands of vegan influencers on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, and blogs. They are trying, talking about, and recommending vegan products every single day. For a little as the cost of a sample product, you can get an authentic review that puts your brand and product in front of a sizable, targeted base of vegan lifestyle enthusiasts! NinjaOutreach is a good place to find, research, and connect with influencers to get your started. To scale the program, I recommend creating a landing page where influencers can request a free review sample. Then email or message your influencer list and point them to the page.
Local Search Listing
- For local businesses, such as a vegan restaurant, a high Google Maps ranking is the best thing you can do for your business. I recently wrote a full guide on how to rank locally.
Vegan Category Page
- Even if you aren't a 100% vegan business, you can still make it easy for vegans to shop with you by curating a page of your vegan options. Be sure to implement foundational SEO best practices such as META title and description, H1/H2 title tags, URL naming, and on-page test including the keyword "Vegan" with your product or service. For example your page title would be something like "Vegan Mexican Food Menu - Maria's Cantina Los Angeles, California". Start by finding your target keyword list; for this, I recommend KWFinder.com.
Google Ads for Vegan Searches
- Capture searches for your vegan product or service with Google Ads. Build your keyword list with KWFinder, write ads that speak to vegans, and point to appropriate and relevant landing page. Be sure you have analytics and conversion tracking in place to optimize and report performance.
- Nurture, re-engage, and retain customers with GDN (Google Display Network) remarketing ads. Place the Google Ads pixel on your website, design vegan-specific ads, and point traffic back to your vegan page or use dynamic ads to bring them back to the product they abandoned. Facebook Ads also offers a good retargeting solution.
I hope this gives you some ideas to start growing your vegan sales! And if you'd like to see how Upgrow can provide a complete digital marketing strategy and manage your online customer acquisition programs, schedule a discovery call now! So which strategy are you going to try? Any other ideas? Let us know in the comments below...