Consumers weigh vegan & specialty diet attributes differently based on category, SPINS data shows

Rather, the success of different diet attributes – and therefore the importance of dedicating valuable real estate on labels for related claims – varies based on the maturity of the dietary trend, the extent to which a category innately ‘fits’ into a diet, the selection of products within a segment that meet specific food tribe requirements, innovation and product launches and other industry trends.

For example, rising interest in a plant-based diet means more consumers are looking for vegan and vegetarian options, but the extent to which these attributes resonate with consumers varies significantly between plant-based protein, plant-based dairy and other common categories, Scott Dicker, marketing data analyst with SPINS, told attendees at Natural Products Expo West virtual last week.

Within plant-based dairy, products with vegetarian-only attributes, which is determined based on nutritional information not marketing claims, grew 35% last year – outpacing the 18% growth of plant-based milk, cheese, creamer and yogurt segment overall. But products with vegan attributes grew only 17% — so slightly less than the overall category, Dicker said.

The opposite was true for plant-based proteins, where vegan attributes drove 28% growth in the past year, outpacing the overall category’s 27% growth, compared to only 7% growth of products with vegetarian only attributes.

Dicker attributed the difference between the claims’ performance in the plant-based protein segment to many companies innovating or reformulating products to become fully vegan.

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