TPR 5/18/21: Can you persuade burger lovers to drop the beef?

The Persuasion Report


TPR 5/18/21: Can you persuade burger lovers to drop the beef?
By Mark Tosczak • Issue #18 • View online
2-minute read
I know food is a sensitive subject. Today’s Persuasion Report is a reminder, however, that there’s more that goes into dining decisions than just taste.
If you’re enjoying these tasty daily snacks of behavioral science insights, won’t you consider sharing this with your friends and colleagues? Just forward them this email or share it online.

Can you persuade burger lovers to drop the beef?
Makers of plant-based meat substitutes, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are rolling out their products at popular restaurants. But will consumers bite on plant-based alternatives to red meat, no matter how they taste?
Two Penn State researchers wanted to know what factors might influence diners to choose plant-based “meats.”
They found that health and taste-based appeals for plant-based burgers didn’t do much to change consumer preferences. But social appeals — “good for the environment and animal welfare” — were more powerful.
Participants exposed to the advertising that appealed to their social conscience were more likely to select the plant-based burger than those who saw the health or taste-based ads. Our research found that the social appeals worked because they induced positive feelings of doing something good for society.
The researchers noted that “Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the two main plant-based brands, tend to market their vegetarian burgers with claims of tastes and textures that are similar to that of meat.”
Those companies may know something the researchers don’t, but the study certainly suggests the value of testing different appeals before settling on your messages.
Upcoming issues:
  • Why don’t text-message interventions work at scale for college students
  • How brands should and shouldn’t use green messaging and appeals to social values
  • Do more views on social media messages make them more persuasive?
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Mark Tosczak

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