Guild of Fine Food - How to offer your vegan customers more this Christmas

Plant-based is now the mainstream, so to make the most of this at Christmas, retailers need to assume that every gathering will have at least one guest wanting vegan options. Julie Cleijne of Sustainable Kitchen Consultants has some suggestions for covering the bases.

As you make your plans to appeal to as many customers as possible this Christmas, it’s important to make sure you consider the latest consumer trends and attitudes towards vegan Christmas foods.

A 2020 survey found that 25% of global consumers say they are following a flexitarian diet. Many respondents cited health and environmental reasons as the main drivers. However, they also said that they actively looked for plant-based products with natural ingredients and were concerned that many vegan alternatives were too artificial. 

So what does this mean for your retail offering?

The Kit

As we learnt in lockdown, “Staying in is the new going out”. 

Food is the constant point of comfort in our lives, and consumers looked to food more and more to provide it. They followed recipes online and watched live cook-alongs, then shared their home-made successes on social media. Pairing plant-based prducts with other ingredients and fresh fruit & veg that you stock – coupled with a recipe – could help increase sales of multiple products. 

Lockdown also taught us that experiential entertainment is what consumers want, so creating your own ‘kit’, or working with a specialist consultancy to help you, could prove to be an important differentiator for you. Think plant-based cheese-making kits, or bespoke recipe boxes.

The Christmas Hamper

The Christmas Hamper is an all-in-one way to offer something for everyone. Pair your hampers with recipes, both plant-based and with animal products, and you’re on to a winner! But what to stock in them? Fears surrounding COVID-19 have shone a spotlight on factors such as building strong immunity, heart health and reducing excess weight. Best to keep in mind that just because a food product is plant-based, it does not necessarily mean it is healthy. Health-conscious consumers will be interested in products with ‘clean labels’, without overly processed ingredients. Plus there has been renewed interest in functional health benefits and items that aid better sleep, digestion and relaxation. Fill your hampers with products that tick these boxes, and talk about them in your marketing.

Value for money

Price and value for money will be huge drivers as we enter a phase post-Brexit where food prices are expected to rise. With financial uncertainty, many consumers will be very strongly driven by price, resourcefulness and reduced waste. 

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