Remember when the Beyond Burger made its grocery debut right in the meat case next to its beef-based counterparts? And remember how it sold out in an hour?
While, yes, the Beyond Burger is uniquely awesome, it turns out the connection between prime placement and increased purchases isn’t an isolated phenomenon – it says something fundamental about human behavior.
Just like placement on the shelf matters, placement on the menu matters when consumers go to make a decision between animal products or plant-based alternatives. In fact, a new study shows that it might matter in a big way:
A report from the London School of Economics found that when plant-based options were integrated on menus as opposed to given their own section, the percentage of people who ordered the veg option more than doubled.
As Linda Bacon (real name), lead researcher and former global strategy director at Mars, Inc.. explained:
Having spent 25 years in the food industry, I can tell you that, despite our very best intentions, as consumers we don’t always make the buying decisions we wish we would. Our brains are often too busy or distracted to fully evaluate what we should eat. We can be unconsciously influenced by many factors, including what we notice first, how attractively a product is described or displayed and social norms. The environment around us can have a real impact on our behavior.
When veg options are placed in a separate box – or, as one could extrapolate, in a far corner of the supermarket – consumers assume these options are exclusive to vegetarians or vegans. If the goal is grow the market for plant-based foods and move sales away from animal products, then it’s time to change how we market these foods.
After all, plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs aren't for one select group. There foods are explicitly designed to be awesomely delicious options for any consumer out there, and that should be reflected in how restaurants and grocery stores market these products.
It's time to take veg options out of the box.
To learn more about The Good Food Institute's work to level the playing field for plant-based alternatives, check out what we do!