Why Alternatives Shouldn’t be Marketed as Alternatives

Every year, thousands of Norwegians gather for Arendalsuka. For five days in August, people discuss the societal challenges of today and tomorrow, and this year, our Executive Strategy Director & Founding Partner, Christian Halsted, joined the debate.

Together with Footprint and Pronofa, Christian joined the discussion of the food of tomorrow – and how to make it popular. An important topic and one that is very close to our hearts. Here are two of the main takeaways from Christian’s part in the panel discussion.

Don’t Remind Me of What I’m Missing Out On

Alternatives shouldn’t be marketed as alternatives – quite the opposite, actually. Why? Because we, as consumers, don’t want to compromise. Too many brands today remind consumers of what they are not. And from a communication and branding perspective, that is very inefficient.

While it might work with a niche audience, it’s hard to reach mainstream appeal if you don’t convince more than the diehard activists. “Make us feel your product is great in its own right, and not a compromise or alternative to the real thing,” Christian concluded. “Your inferiority complex shouldn’t be the core of your position. Quite the opposite, actually.”

Uncommon Food for Common People

For many years, plant-based products and more sustainable meat solutions have been marketed as dare-devil food for political activists. This won’t make make a new path popular with the mainstream audience, and the brand stories of the new and innovative food solutions need to change.

“Just because you’re producing alternative protein sources doesn’t mean that the fundamental rules of branding don’t apply to your case,” Christian adds. “Sure, stand out. But don’t just point fingers and make noise. Show the way, normalise the choice, and make people feel part of a bigger movement than isn’t merely about the ingredients of your paddies.”

Proof in the Pudding

See some examples of our consumer branding for companies producing alternative protein right here.

La Vie