It’s Not Vegan, It’s “Plant-Based”

By: James Flippin · July 06, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Culinary Camouflage

When it comes to developing new meat-free foods, the recipe for success includes two main ingredients — and neither are legumes. The first is great tasting food. The second may be less obvious, but that’s by design. It’s clever marketing.

Many companies have found the term “plant-based” is more compelling to consumers than “vegan” — even though they effectively mean the same thing. Much like putting too much garlic in a dish, using the term “vegan” to describe meat substitutes can come off too strong, discouraging some customers from buying it.

What’s the Difference?

Vegans, like vegetarians, do not eat meat. But, unlike vegetarians, vegans avoid animal products entirely, including foods like honey, milk, and cheese.

The implications of the term “vegan” go beyond dietary preferences. Going vegan often informs consumer choices outside the food industry, such as a refusal to purchase leather or down products. Veganism can even go hand-in-hand with environmental and animal welfare activism.

Some food companies have found it pays to keep grocery shoppers focused on their groceries. While it might be technically accurate to describe most plant-based foods as vegan, these companies worry the label could turn off potential customers who are eating plant-based for other reasons and don’t adhere entirely to a vegan lifestyle.

Tweaking the Recipe

Still, even in a single industry, the recipe for success is not the same for every company. While some companies are choosing to eliminate the phrase “vegan” from their marketing, others are doubling down.

Be sure to check for the tell-tale signs next time you’re at the grocery store. You’ll likely find meat-free food companies will describe their products as either “plant-based” or “vegan” — but rarely both.

To industry outsiders, this might all seem like semantics. However, in an industry as competitive as the food industry, making a few small tweaks to your brand’s marketing can be just what’s needed to bring home the bacon.

Looking for more stories like this? Check out On the Money — SoFi’s one-stop-shop for news, trends, and tips!

Check it out

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender