Saturday, July 19, 2008

Veggies according to marketing groups

A while back on my cycling blog, I did a post about a market research report I'd found which discussed cyclists as a target market.

Lo and behold, similar stuff exists for vegetarians!

I came across a news story about an international market research group which had recently published a slew of reports on different veggie groups. Along with some miscellaneous reports, they have written on the following groups:

Their work shows the following dietary preferences in the United States:
- Avid meat consumers (14%) – consume meat with “every” meal
- Regular meat consumers (47%) – consume meat with “most” meals
- Moderate meat consumers (25%) – consume meat with “about half” of meals
- Semi-vegetarians (13%) – consume meat with “fewer than half” of meals
- Vegetarians and vegans (1%) – “never” consume meat
- Vegetarians are those who never eat meat, while vegans do not consume animal products of any kind. Combined, these groups make up a small, but dedicated portion of the population, comprising 2 million individuals, or about 1% of the total U.S. adult population.

This is the summary of the vegetarian and vegan consumers report:

The vegetarian and vegan segment has the potential to grow to nearly six times its current size, which would bring the total number of such consumers to almost 18 million adults.

Vegetarians and vegans are the most frequent purchasers of meat and dairy alternatives. As a consumer segment, they are extremely receptive to trying new grocery products and they self-report as being the first among their friends to do so. Most are willing to pay premiums for items that embody their ideals, including “humane” products.

The vegetarian and vegan group tends to skew female and toward the younger end of the age spectrum when compared with the base adult population. The group is nearly two-thirds women, and more than half are under the age of 35. This skew toward younger people may account for this segment’s greater interest in humane and environmental issues, as opposed to health, which is more important to older age groups.

Vegetarians and vegans are more issue-driven than any other consumer group. They are first and foremost motivated by animal welfare issues and to a lesser extent environmental issues. Because these issues are a priority for vegetarians and vegans, they are more likely than the typical U.S. adult to contribute time or money to related causes and they integrate these issues into their dietary decisions on a daily basis.

Vegetarians and vegans are motivated by a number of different concerns, but as a group they cite animal welfare as the biggest primary motivator in choosing a vegetarian diet. This is in contrast to non-vegetarians, who clearly indicate that health is the primary (and in some cases only) motivator for meat-reducing behavior.

Vegetarians and vegans have shown a willingness to make social sacrifices in support of their philosophies; many seek out support networks of friends who share similar convictions to help them remain steadfast in their lifestyles and dietary choices.

To engage this consumer segment, food producers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and others involved in selling vegetarian food products should adopt sales and marketing strategies that appeal to vegetarians based on their primary motivations.

Vegetarian food industry players should also utilize established vegetarian patrons as word of mouth advocates for their products to reach other vegetarian and non-vegetarian customers through the patrons’ social networks.

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