Beyond Meat addresses the noise around plant-based meat with “There’s Goodness Here” campaign

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Beyond Meat
Source: Beyond Meat

Related tags Beyond meat plant-based meat consumer perception Transparency

The negative attention around plant-based meat, including consumer concern about premium pricing amid rising grocery costs to ingredient transparency, have impacted Beyond Meat’s declining Q2 financials, prompting the company to launch its “There’s Goodness Here” campaign to educate consumers on how its plant-based meats are made from bean to “beef.”

Akerho "AK" Oghoghomeh, senior vice president of global marketing at Beyond Meat, explained to FoodNavigator-USA how the campaign demystifies the brand’s ingredients, process, mission and products for consumers whose spending has grown leaner amid rising grocery prices and who are uncertain about plant-based ingredient processing.

We wanted to make sure that we also shared a little bit more about our process, because the noise that is out there right now is making people think or feel as if our products are ultra processed or overly processed or that they're made with a lot of artificial ingredients​,” Oghoghomeh elaborated.

The campaign’s story, which was developed in-house, was built around conversations with fava bean farmers in North Dakota who partnered with Beyond Meat to discuss the opportunities in harvesting fava beans.

What they found was that the fava beans are nitrogen fixing, and better for the soil and allows to grow crops without having to use fertilizers that are costly…so [the] fields are actually healthier because of growing fava beans​,” Oghoghomeh added.

The story also emphasizes the importance of educating both consumers and farmers. Consumers need to understand where their food comes from, and farmers need to be given the opportunity to make changes to their practices, Oghoghomeh clarified.

With this campaign, there is this element of traceability that is happening where consumers can see and meet the farmer who is growing these fava beans​,” he added.

From seed to sale, finding the opportunity in consumer curiosity

Across demographics, simple and recognizable ingredients are piquing consumer interest. At the same time, curiosity in plant-based foods and sustainability are low​, creating an opportunity for brands to develop engaging, authentic campaigns that give consumers a closer look at how these products are made from simple, familiar ingredients.

Of Beyond Meat’s consumers, Oghoghomeh explained, 56% identify as flexitarians, while 80% are looking to reduce their meat consumption, which has helped the brand formulate products that taste and cook like animal meat, containing lower saturated fat and no cholesterol. 

Oghoghomeh said, “If you turn around the package and take a look at what actually encompasses what Beyond Meat is made from, it’s made from things that you can easily pronounce.​”

Highlighting the familiarity of whole ingredients, Oghoghomeh explained that the brand’s storytelling can be enhanced by “showing people how Beyond Burger is made. If you ever wanted to, you could make it in your kitchen​. But we're able to find ways to scale up so that we can make sure that people all over the country can enjoy these products all over the world​.”

Consumers are ‘more skeptical than ever of brand talk’

While overall trust in the food and beverage industry is slightly up, the US is among the lowest scoring​, which creates an opportunity for stakeholders across the value chain to reconsider how to translate technical jargon​ like ‘processed’ and ‘ultraprocessed’ for the public.

Recognition from third party certifications or awards offer validity among consumers. Beyond Meat’s Beyond Steak received American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification, as well Good Housekeeping’s seal of approval for nutrition.

Pretty much all food products that are made and produced in America, or mass distribution, go through some type of process. I think the key thing that most brands really need to understand and in terms of the way that we are communicating with consumers is that consumers are looking for transparency. They're more skeptical than ever of brand talk. And they're looking to really understand what is going into the products that are going into their body,”​ Oghoghomeh articulated.

Transparency continues to significantly shape the food and beverage industry and consumers are demanding more than nutrition facts on the label. Oghoghomeh added that clean labeling has expanded to include fewer ingredients and ingredient clarity to provenance.

This idea of clean label is important [where] fewer ingredients are going into the product. Clarity with labeling is important, but then even understanding how the [ingredient] shows up from the farm all the way to the fork. I think we need to be a bit clearer within the food and beverage industry about how that is actually happening and bring [the consumer] along with us,”​ he explained.

Origin sourcing is ‘less about scanning a QR code’

While blockchain-enabled technology offers a more streamlined approach to traceability across the supply chain, it would require Beyond Meat to “really ramp up our technology and bolster our website to be able to do something like that and it is not currently on our horizon,”  ​Oghoghomeh clarified.

He continued that providing origin sourcing is “less about scanning a QR code to know exactly where that burger’s piece came from and more about the environments or the places that our products are coming from…instead I think we can talk more about the communities where our products are being produced…the people that are producing the products.”

 

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