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.
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