Plant-Based Dressings and Condiments

Goals

To understand the must have, nice to have, and taboo attributes of plant-based salad dressings and condiments that are most sought after by consumers, and which are most prevalent currently by reviewing existing plant-based eating guides, products, social media, and advertising.

Early Findings

  • In an article in SmartBrief, the Hartman Group's Food & Technology 2019: From Plant-Based to Lab-Grown report was reviewed. Consumers understanding of plant-based was attributed to a connection that was intrinsically made between plants and health, and bringing culinary variety into the diet.
  • The review revealed that when asked to think about plant-based foods, consumers recall beans, vegetables, and seaweed when the conversation is focused on whole plant foods. When it is focused on meat and dairy alternatives, consumers recall protein sources such as soy, nuts, and tofu. Consumers were found to link plant-based foods to vegetables, not grains. This was attributed to the absence of grains in consumers recall when talking about plant-based foods.
  • Cultural factors influencing the understanding of plant-based foods from a historical perspective are healthy body and soul, patriotic abstinence, counterculture and earth focus, and modernity and mindfulness.
  • Among the attributes to include when marketing plant-based products include focusing on the provenance of the product, its flavor, the appearance, and the consumer's tactile experience with the product.
  • Attributes to avoid when marketing plant-based foods include refraining from using the words vegan, vegetarian, and use of language implying health restrictions.
  • Additional plant-based brands for salad dressings and condiments are Trader Joe's Green Goddess, Foods Alive, JUST Caesar Dressing, and Primal Kitchen.

Summary

  • In this initial hour of research, focus was placed on a preliminary overview of consumer understandings of plant-based, and additional plant-based brands for salad dressing and condiments.
  • The initial search did not uncover any attributes focused specifically on the must haves, nice to have, and taboo attributes of plant based salad dressings and condiments. The search did reveal an article on the do's and don't of marketing plant-based foods, and this was used to present our initial findings on plant-based food marketing.

Proposed next steps:

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We can start by providing (1) a competitive landscape comprising two companies each from the list mentioned in the strategy, which in addition to an overview of each company, will provide the type of consumer targeted (hard core or generalist), products and services, and pricing (6 hours). (2) Next the research will focus on a deeper exploration of consumer's understanding of what plant-based means and the most sought after features for plant-based salad dressings and condiments for consumers (3 hours). (3) We will also provide 3 -5 trends (e.g.plant-based protein sources, soy/dairy avoidance, ingredient simplicity) for plant-based salad dressings and condiments (3 hours).
(1) The initial hour of research did not reveal any product attributes directly associated with plant-based salad dressings and condiments. In its place we provided data for plant-based foods. Please advise if research should continue on the attributes of plant-based salad dressings and condiments, or should the focus shift to plant-based foods in general. (3 hours)