Plant-based food goes mainstream
Brand Positioning & Development
Brand design & Brand Identity
Web Site & App
Media Digital Strategy
UX & UI
Social & Content
Media Relations & Digital PR
In 1988 the food manufacturer Triballat Noyal decided to introduce soy-based food alongside its dairy products. This decision was both intelligent and brave: thirty years ago the plant-based food industry was in its infancy and there were no complete or promising case histories to refer to.
The Sojasun brand was launched and was a huge success with the French public. It grew and, in 2011, arrived in Italy. Sojasun has been Life’s client since 2015 and it manages its BTL creativity, communication, digital and social media strategy, media and press office. In all these years it has guided the brand’s management in its strategical decisions and helped it through market fluctuations.
Handling the launch and penetration of Sojasun on the Italian market was a challenge. Soy has never been a staple of the Italian diet and, up to that time, those who chose it did so for ethical or health reasons. Marketing positioning was complex not only because it was difficult to penetrate the country’s food tradition, but because the market, where the target audience was limited, was almost completely saturated by other competitors who were more solid and had considerably more resources to invest in communication. Our strategy was to change point of view and direction: to increase its market share, Sojasun had to find a mainstream positioning.
To decide which direction to take, we looked at numbers and statistics, carrying out a detailed analysis of the dietary trends and habits of the Italians. This led to Life identifying a new group of consumers, flexitarians: mainstream, young, cosmopolitan non-vegetarians and non-vegans. Flexitarians represent a rather unconventional category on the food market as they are consumers who, although not strictly vegetarians or vegans, supplement their traditional diet with alternative eating habits. The statistics were very clear: these consumers were open-minded and destined to grow in number.
The direction chosen by Life to define a new positioning for Sojasun proved to be the right one. According to a study carried out in 2015, the concept of plant-based food was shifting from being a choice made by a select few to an option for anyone who was informed, aware of food trends and had their wellbeing at heart.
To appeal to this public, Life and Sojasun management decided to create a powerful positioning campaign, with the brand appearing for the first time on national TV with two 15” ads: one featuring plant-based alternatives to yoghurt and the other plant-based burgers.
The ads produced a great return in terms of brand awareness and campaign recognition (Barometer survey / GFK TSSP 2016 data). A result to be proud of for a new brand airing for the very first time on TV.
After a great surge in popularity, the plant-based market took an inevitable downturn. So in the past years we have worked on brand equity, producing a steady stream of communication material for all online and offline touchpoints, supported by activities in Italy like events, tasting and sponsorships. The aim was to convey the values of Sojasun with believable, direct and compelling storytelling. To do this, we analysed the target group, closely monitoring social listening and focusing on the digital community in particular. Thanks to reliable data from Sinottica and Blogmeter, we were ready to make our next move in the extremely changeable plant-based food sector.
In 2020, following another analysis of the brand’s target audience, we defined two new kinds of consumers who were similar to flexitarians and from similar, lifestyle-oriented worlds: wellness and culture lovers. These consumers are culturally and politically aware, they are careful about their diet, sport and appearance and enjoy their spare time, entertaining and social life.
To follow the evolutions of our target group and get them more involved, we opted for a strategy that focused on wellbeing assets. The 2020 communication plan continues in this vein, with Sojasun an important reference point for its public, strengthening the positioning it chose five years before.