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Preaching to the middle of the road: Strategic differences in persuasive appeals for meat anti-consumption

Catherine Anne Armstrong Soule (Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA)
Tejvir Sekhon (Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 November 2018

Issue publication date: 1 May 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore strategic differences in marketing communication tactics for vegan and humane meat brands.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis was used to categorize the types of persuasive appeals used on the packaging of vegan and humane meat brands.

Findings

Humane meat brands use animal welfare and environmental appeals more often whereas vegan brands use taste appeals more frequently.

Social implications

Marketers’ communication strategies for alternatives to traditional meat consumption are different from those of activists and non-profit organizations. By targeting middle of the road consumers, both vegan and humane brands can support widespread efficient and curtailment behaviors and in the process benefit consumers, the brands and society.

Originality/value

Anti-consumption and/or reduction of meat and animal by-products are arguably the most impactful ways in which consumers can alter their diets to positively impact individual and societal well-being. Consumers seeking alternatives to traditional meat consumption may either chose more sustainable meat products (efficient behaviors) or reduce/eliminate meat consumption (curtailment behaviors). Existing research suggests that such consumers can be divided into two segments – those driven by personal motives (health and/or taste) and those motivated by prosocial concern (environmental sustainability and/or animal welfare) and brands should match persuasive appeals to consumer motives, i.e. curtailment-focused vegan brands should use environmental or animal justice appeals and efficiency-focused humane meat brands should use taste or health appeals. However, the present research assumes marketers’ perspective and demonstrates that both vegan and humane brands target middle of the road consumers striving to balance multiple personal and prosocial goals, being socially responsible without compromising taste.

Keywords

Citation

Armstrong Soule, C.A. and Sekhon, T. (2019), "Preaching to the middle of the road: Strategic differences in persuasive appeals for meat anti-consumption", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 1, pp. 157-171. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-03-2018-0209

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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