Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

UK veggie buying power grows

Real-time shopper data released by shopping technology platform Adimo has revealed that meat alternative brands have seen a 108% YoY uplift in engagement, from January to April 2022, as a result of marketing activity.

The company has also found that the sales conversion rate for vegetarian brand activity stands at 14.12% this year, far exceeding the average for food brand activity of up to 7%.

Of all the channels, organic search is one of the highest converting for the meat-free category at 24.6%, demonstrating the volume of people searching online for vegetarian substitutes, with a view to purchasing. This is followed by Paid Social, Display, Video and Paid Search.

Gavin Stirrat, COO at Adimo, commented on the findings: “It’s very clear vegetarianism has grown in popularity over the last few years. Whether it be due to ethical, religious, lifestyle or environmental reasons, the fact of the matter is that vegetarians now account for 7% of UK consumers – a figure that’s fast rising. National campaigns such as Veganuary and the recent National Vegetarian Week clearly led to an increase in online engagement with meat-free brands and ultimately an uplift in online sales. However, our shoppable marketing data reveals that beyond these spikes there is a consistent upward trend in consumer interest and engagement in vegetarian food.

“With more brands entering this space and becoming more widely available, we are also seeing a rise in the number of consumers shopping around and comparing prices across retailers. Price comparison behaviour in this category is up 98% year-on-year, which could be indicative of the ongoing cost of living crisis, but also demonstrates the need for brand marketers to ensure they are reaching these audiences across all their marketing touch-points with compelling offers that drive immediately to a purchase opportunity.”

Commenting on the insights, Gill Riley, Marketing Director at Quorn Foods UK, said: “We have been producing meat-free alternatives for over 36 years and are encouraged by the high growth in engagement with the category, as seen within Adimo’s data. Having used Adimo’s shoppable marketing platform to promote our key brands, we are able to reach people at the point of conversion and ultimately encourage more people to try delicious meat-free meals. The high category conversion rates revealed today indicate this is not just a seasonal fad, driven by campaigns like Veganuary, but an ongoing shift in the UK’s eating habits.”

Richard McIlwain, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: “It is brilliant to see such a sharp increase in interest in meat-free alternatives in the UK over the last year. Evidence shows plant-based food is better for the planet, has far less carbon emissions than meat, and for households on tight budgets a wholefood vegetarian diet can also be a cheaper, healthy choice. National Vegetarian Week is the perfect time to try vegetarian dishes. We’re asking people to do whatever they can – swap one meal, eat veggie for a whole week, just go for it!”

Adimo’s shoppable marketing and data platform connects global FMCG brands directly with their customers and covers all the major supermarkets within the UK. Its solutions enable FMCG brands to provide a shopping experience through their digital marketing touchpoints and track this through to sales.  In this way, Adimo is able to acquire real-time data on shopper behaviour for analysis. Adimo’s platform is used in 65 markets, across 6 continents and connects over 5 billion potential shoppers with over 600 retailers worldwide.