“How do you know if someone is vegan? Don’t worry – they’ll tell you.”
Eating vegan has evolved from being light-heartedly mocked, and the choice of animal welfare activists only, to a mass trend. 48% of European consumers are trying to reduce their meat intake and 25% say they eat meat substitutes regularly (source: Globaldata 2019). This trend, spurred by documentaries around the health benefits of eating plant-based and the increase in awareness of the environmental impact of the meat industry, reflects a drive for holistic wellness: food that’s better for your health, the planet and society.
The vegan trend has hit the bakery sector too, growing by over 30% year on year since 2013 (source: Innova) – and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
Vegan products also offer a solution to other consumer needs from products made without eggs or dairy to vegetarian. With more than 65% of the global population unable to properly digest lactose (source: Genetics Home Reference) and approximately 10% of the global population being vegetarian (source: Globaldata 2019), this is a need that isn’t going anywhere.
So, it’s time to adapt your strategy and offer to answer it. Here are the key elements to consider:
Choosing vegan shouldn’t mean a compromise on deliciousness. But 40% of European consumers do believe plant-based alternatives lack taste and 34% are concerned about the texture of plant-based food (source: Globaldata 2019). Overcome these barriers by using traditional flavours, such as sugar or chocolate for donuts, and chocolate or blueberry for muffins. This will enable you to trigger interest and build credibility before evolving into more experimental flavours.
Go beyond explicitly vegan mixes. Many bakery toppings and fillings are naturally vegan like fruit fillings, dark chocolate and glazes – providing flexibility and ease when adapting your offer.
Opt for flexible mixes that you can adapt to diversify your vegan offer. For example, a chocolate vegan muffin base can be combined with different fruits, nuts, seeds or toppings to effortlessly transform and multiply your vegan offer and appeal to a wider pool of customers.
There’s a reason why people say, ‘you are what you eat’. Food is an expression of identity and personal values, none more so than veganism. When consumers find an offer that appeals to that food identity, it fuels passion, loyalty and sparks them to share it with others. If consuming your offer becomes an expression of customers’ identity, it will organically create ambassadors for your bakery.
Interestingly, 71% of consumers find the term ‘plant-based’ appealing, whereas 39% find the term ‘vegan’ appealing (source: FMCG Guru). Play around with ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan’ in your communication to see which term resonates with your customers most.
The break in routine and the time to think, read and reflect that’s been afforded to us during lockdown has had an impact on food choices. As a result, we could see a post-COVID acceleration of the vegan trend, with 13% of European consumers claiming they’ll eat more plant-based as a result of COVID-19 (source: FMCG Gurus). As your business resets and adapts to the ‘new normal’, keep this front of mind.
Ready to start your vegan journey? To help you build your offer with ease, we’ve launched a new range of vegan bakery products – so you can meet this new and growing demand with delicious vegan cakes, pastries, muffins and much more.
Plus, we’ve also got all the insights, tips and resources you need to dive deeper into what vegan customers are looking for.