Be Nice to Your Vegan Friends Tomorrow

They’re struggling. They are only 2-3% of the population at most (according to the latest 2022 poll).  So, most of us still do not understand their dietary commitment. They had no idea how many times a year they would have to declare/explain their veganism at holiday parties, praying no one would bait them into an ethical argument. 

The intersection of family, holiday food, and vegan justification is exhausting for these folks. Most are NOT missionaries.

Luckily, they can now attend a 4th of July party that offers plant-based burgers proactively if their friends are even remotely up to date. 

A 2014 Faunalytics study, the largest ever conducted on vegetarianism and veganism in the U.S., revealed that 50% of vegans don’t stick to the diet. The lapsation is 80% among vegetarians. 

The top reasons for abandoning these diets were the inconvenience of finding appropriate foods, standing out socially (i.e., as ‘weird’), and the poor taste of substitute foods.

Since 2104, things in the vegan product space have improved in palatability. Vegan cooking knowledge has spread. Vegan restaurant items are everywhere, it seems. Yet, the growth in strict veganism is debatable.

What we know has grown is interest in eating vegan meals to reduce calorie intake and as a sort of health boost. Being ‘vegan’ and eating a vegan meal are very different things. And the less committed from the most significant market out there. This is true for many highly idealistic behaviors in consumer markets. 

A 2022 YouGov survey of 2,889 adults reveals that 3% of adults are strict vegans, 6% are usually vegans, and 20% are sometimes vegans (Source). That’s almost ⅓ of the country who participate to some degree in vegan eating behavior.

The meaning of ‘sometimes’ in the survey is unclear. If it means twice a year, this group is not financially efficient to reach. If it means monthly, the business could work. Either way, large vegan product businesses need more reminder marketing than midmarket brands pursuing growth in other spaces. This is because you are marketing to a behavior that is not routine (daily or weekly in frequency). 

This puts an expensive marketing burden that vegan meat brands are not set up financially to pull off. 

Dr. James Richardson

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