Evolve or die

Markets are evolving all the time and have become increasingly competitive in recent years. If, as a business, you fail to evolve to the conditions of your environment, then your market share will tumble. For many people 2017 kicked off with Veganuary, and if you’re working within the world of food retail or service then the ‘Rise of Vegans’ is a trend that you cannot afford to ignore.

Green is the New Black

With a climate change denier (amongst other things) currently presiding in the White House, we can expect all things ‘Green’ to get a bigger proportion of media attention over the next 4 years (please let there be an impeachment, 4 years is too long). The ethical and green factors of Veganism have been argued to death in numerous other blogs so I will try to keep this point brief, as the main issue here is how variety in the form of vegan can provide a key weapon to your businesses arsenal. Whether or not you believe the arguments, it is true that environmental and ethical factors play a significant role in people’s choice to become Vegan, with the infographic below from Grady (2017) demonstrating that 7,707 of the 59,500 people taking part globally in Veganuary 2017 did so for environmental reasons.

16473630_612626238943484_6020985123297916172_nFigure 1: ‘Veganuary 2017 Survey Results’, Credit to Grady (2017)

Outside of the realms of Veganism, Key Note (2015) reports that “despite the poor economic environment, sales of green and ethical products have observed relatively strong growth over the past 5 years”; so, it’s little surprise that the uptake of Veganism and Vegan products has increased significantly in line with the green and ethical trend. In fact, Grady (2017) reports that the number of global participants of Veganuary doubled in the last year and increased by 1703% from when the initiative was first launched in 2014.

However, the trend off Veganism isn’t quite the avalanche that the 1703% figure would suggest, as this only shows an increase in the uptake of Veganism in one month of the year across a small percentage of the global population. But there are certainly legs in this trend yet. Grady (2017) reports that “59% of the meat-eaters who responded to our survey, 64% of the pescetarians, and a whopping 75% of vegetarians” are staying Vegan.

It’s not just Vegan organisations that are pushing this trend though, big names in the world of retail have realised that this is a trend that they cannot afford to ignore. In February 2017, Ben and Jerry’s launched 3 new Vegan flavours to take their Vegan repertoire up to 7, although these are currently only available within the US. Back over on our side of the pond however, the story is very much the same. Starostinetskaya (2017) reports that “analyst’s added plant-based milk” to the “UK’s symbolic “shopping basket” that reveals what Brits are buying most in 2017”. The reasoning behind this; veganism in the UK is up 360% in the last decade and “recent reports have predicted that the plant-based milk industry will continue to grow to $35 billion by 2024”, according to Starostinetskaya (2017).

It’s a battlefield out there!

Why does all of this matter for your business? Well, if you’re operating in the world of food retail or service then it’s about time you considered responding. Frankly, if it’s good enough for Ben and Jerry’s, why isn’t it good enough for you?

It might not guarantee success but time and again throughout history battles have been won by armies having the superior arsenal to suit the conditions of the battlefield. Henry V had the longbows that the French were lacking at Agincourt in 1415 and the Roman’s built a whole empire by being better equipped in the fields of war. Adding Vegan options to your businesses arsenal is not a guarantee that you will see your market share increase, but that is certainly a possibility, but it certainly protects against you getting left behind as your market takes the fight to a new battlefield.

Still not convinced? Here’s one more fact, Rise of the Vegan (2017) reports that “last year the number of vegans in the UK increased by 261%, and vegan food sales increased by 1,500%”. So I refer you to the heading picture; Go Vegan but not for the reasons stated in the picture but for the good of your business.

References:

Key Note (2015) Green & Ethical Consumer: Market Reports 2015. [Online] https://www-keynote-co-uk.ezproxy.brighton.ac.uk/market-report/lifestyle/green-ethical-consumer?full_report=true [Date Accessed: 12th April 2017]

Starostinetskaya, A. (2017) Vegan Milk is Top Consumer Trend in UK. Veg News, 17th March 2017[Online] http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=9180&catId=1&utm_source=vegfestexpress.co.uk&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=vegfestexpress.co.uk [Date Accessed: 14th April 2017]

Rise of the Vegan (2017) Popular Pizzeria Completely Ditches Dairy AND Meat to go 100% Vegan!. 6th April 2017[Online] https://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/pizzeria-ditches-dairy-and-meat-goes-vegan [Date Accessed: 14th April 2017]

Ben & Jerry’s (2017) Non-Dairy Pints. 1st February 2017[Online] http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/non-dairy [Date Accessed: 14th April 2017]

Grady, C. (2017) Veganuary 2017 Survey Results. Veganuary [Online] https://veganuary.com/blog/veganuary-2017-survey-results/ [Date Accessed: 14th April 2017]

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