Canadian Packaging

How Impossible, Beyond & Nestlé’s plant-based burgers disrupt the meat industry

Impact on the environment is at the center of conversations about eating less meat


January 17, 2020
Canadian Packaging

By 2040, the global conventional meat supply will drop by more than 33%, with new vegan meat alternatives and cultured meat replacing classic meat products. Social media is playing a role in the category disruption being created by plant-based brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meats.

Category disruptions are frequent: e-cigarettes disrupted the tobacco industry, plant-based milk turned the dairy industry upside down, and Tesla-like e-mobility entrepreneurs are revamping the car industry. Today, plant-based meat insurgent start-ups such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are rattling the sleeping meat incumbents with their protein substitutes.

Plant-based meat is a hot topic on social with more than 311.4K mentions and 1.9 million engagements were generated in the last 13 months, according to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker.

Talkwalker also tracked what hashtags are trending around plant-based meat discussions, delivering powerful insights for campaigns. Here are some trends:

  • Impact on the environment is at the center of conversations about eating less meat
  • Lots of mobilization happens on specific days or months such as Veganuary/Meatless Mondays
  • FoodTechis heavily discussed when it comes to new food ventures
  • Veganism, #LessMeatMoreVeg and #GoVegan are key trends related to the new meat solutions.

In addition, social media users obviously have mixed feelings when posting about the new types of “meat,” using emojis that vary from plants, laughs to screaming, according to Talkwalker.

So, how are the new brand disruptors faring on social media? Here are some statistics from the past 13 months.

  1. Beyond Burger: 589.9K mentions and 2.3 million engagements
  2. Impossible Burger: 368K mentions and 1.2 million engagements
  3. Incredible Burger/Awesome Burger (Nestle’s): 9.5K mentions and 34.8K engagements
  4. Canadian brand Lightlife Burger: 4.6K mentions and 77.3K engagements,

“Brand disruptors need to follow a few guidelines to make an impact, and that’s exactly what has happened with some of these plant-based burger makers,” said Todd Grossman, CEO Americas for Talkwalker. “You have to know your audience, get ahead of all trends and be bold in your social media strategy to ignite your brand. I think we are seeing only the beginning of this fight and we believe that social media will play a major role in the success of these companies.”


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