While health, sustainability and animal welfare are obvious selling points for plant-based foods, Lightlife Foods - along with more recent market entrant Beyond Meat - is trying to get consumers to stop thinking about its products as ‘alternatives’ to the ‘real deal’, and even querying whether ‘meat’ has to come from an animal.
Plant meat: ‘Every meat on earth is made from plants’
Beyond Meat, for example, says its products are “just part of the broader ‘protein’ set” and claims to be “building meat from plants”, while Lightlife has just unveiled the first in a series of ‘manifesto’ videos, which features the strapline 'Meat without the middleman'.
“They say we can’t be meat, because we’re made from plants,” says Lightlife, which was acquired by private equity firm Brynwood Partners in September 2013. “But every meat on earth is made from plants… This meat [an actor points to a cow] is made from grass… This meat [chicken] is made from corn…
“Technically, we’re not allowed to call ourselves meat, yet… thanks, meatists… but just because we didn’t use an animal to turn plants into thick, juicy, center of the plate mouthwatering protein does not mean we are not meat…”
A second video, ‘Firing the Pig,’ shows a pig being ‘fired’ from a farm as the farmer no longer needs his services due to Lightlife’s ‘plant meat’.
‘I don’t think the average consumer knows that these plant sources can be complete proteins’
Brad Lahrman, director of marketing at Lightlife, told FoodNavigator-USA that the goal is to tap into the roughly 36% of consumers who are actively seeking animal meat alternatives (he cites a 2013 Mintel report), including “men, health-conscious women and Millennial moms”.
He added: “You see the phrase ‘plant protein’ rather than ‘meat alternatives’ much more in the industry today, which is good as I don’t think the average consumer knows that these plant sources can be complete proteins.”
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Watch the video below: