Alpro recently made a statement on their social media account which has angered many of their fans, particularly vegans.
The brand appeared to claim that animal products are required for a healthy diet – something at odds with the positioning of their products, which are alternatives to dairy milk.
Social Media Faux Pas
The mistake made by the brand is enough to make any food sales and marketing expert shake their head in despair. In a post to their Twitter account, the company shared an image. With it was a caption, stating, “A healthy diet consists of 2/3 of plant based food and 1/3 of animal based. With Alpro we offer alternatives to help you set the balance!”
Vegans were quick to take to the reply box and refute the company’s opinion. They made their feelings clear in what quickly spiralled to be a huge amount of comments, reblogs, and direct messages.
One response, from Lisa Grenfell, was: “Oh please correct this. No one needs any animal based produce. I'm 100% plant based and very healthy!"
Meanwhile, on Facebook, Clairy Mare O’Sullivan commented, "I agree that it's hard to please everyone. I just think they went entirely the wrong way about it. Saying eating animal products is healthy when a massive amount of your customer base is vegan was a very bad marketing move."
The message was an odd one for the brand, as their products are actually intended to circumvent the use of animal-based milks. While alternative diets are certainly becoming more fashionable, there is little suggestion that their customers are looking to balance their meals in the way the caption suggests. In fact, their milks are aimed primarily at vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
Soy Milk Products
Alpro are largely known for creating their soy milk products, which include a large range of different flavours and versions.
12% of UK adults are now vegetarian or vegan, with 20% of those aged between 16 to 24 following the diets. This data was recorded by Mintel in 2014 and figures are likely to have risen since then, with rising stars in the social media and food industry popularising the choices.
The company has since released a statement apologising for the gaffe, which certainly impressed neither current customers nor potential ones.
They said, “We made a mistake and we’re really sorry. It was a genuine case of wording a tweet poorly, which didn’t convey what we meant at all. We didn’t mean to imply that you need to eat meat to have a healthy diet. In fact, quite the opposite – we would encourage everyone to eat more plant-based foods.”
Meat-free Products Rising
Recently, Sainsburys made headlines when they released a vegan cheese alternative. After a customer went on a rant in the comments on their Facebook page, they pretended to change the name of their range to humour her.
"Call it Gary or something just don't call it cheese because it's not cheese!" she wrote.
Dutifully, Sainsburys launched their Gary range with a full announcement, showing new product labelling emblazoned with the name.
New product development jobs are sure to focus on this portion of the population in coming years, as numbers are steadily rising. The Vegetarian Society was founded in 1847 and is the oldest vegetarian organisation in the world. They have released statistics suggesting that 25% of all residents in the UK could be vegetarian or vegan within the next 25 years.
The rise of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafes, particularly in London and other large cities, seems to support this idea.
Search for FMCG Jobs here