Food manufacturers hoping to target specific markets and diet preferences have a two-step process to follow. First, they have to decide whether it's feasible to formulate their products in a way that meets standards. Then, it's time to label the items on store shelves, whether by attaining official approval or simply printing claims in line with legal requirements.
Recent years have introduced a number of movements for manufacturers to align themselves with, from organic goods to foods that don't have genetically modified ingredients. One technique that may be less flashy, but potentially effective, is labeling products that are compatible with vegetarian and vegan diets.
The Rising Vegan Wave
Offering reminders that a brand is vegan-friendly is a potentially savvy commercial move in a landscape populated with more people adhering to this diet. Forbes contributor Katrina Fox suggested there's enough excitement behind vegan eating that companies should consider devoting themselves to plant-based foods. As evidence of her claim, Fox presented the fact that plant-based food sales have risen 8.1 percent year-over-year in the U.S. Within three years, 40 percent of the dairy and dairy-alternative beverage market could consist of plant-based options, per Packaged Facts research.
With ingredients such as peas becoming increasingly valued and trusted sources of protein, Fox sees the U.S. as a secure place for companies to commit to veganism. Not having plant-based food options available could soon limit companies' appeal.
Labeling for Success
Brands that don't yet advertise their items' vegetarian or vegan bona fides may be missing a chance to win over new customers. According to Nutritional Outlook, recent years have seen snack food producers lean toward vegan-friendly labeling, especially when they don't have to reformulate their products to be part of the diet. Seeds and nuts are some of the items most suited for vegan positioning with no changes necessary to the products themselves.
Regional trends may prove influential as to whether companies include "vegan" on packaging. The source explained vegan claims are more popular in the U.K. and U.S. than Western Europe, in general, with British brands being especially eager to use the tag.
The opportunities don't stop with vegan labeling, either. Nutritional Outlook reported that some snack foods fit the requirements of raw-foods or paleo diets, and manufacturers of these products have been increasingly willing to denote these facts on labels. Eating trends on the rise that reach statistical tipping points may make excellent selling points for companies that naturally suit those requirements.