Along with the growing vegan movement, I’m starting to see people call themselves “flexitarian”. My understanding is that being flexitarian allows you to eat what you want but with a nod to reducing your processed food and meat intake. It’s a mostly plant-based diet with maybe some seafood and chicken thrown in occasionally. Pescatarian is also a common term (doesn’t eat meat but does eat fish). In fact, my husband falls into this category, if he had to label himself.
These diets can work for many people. It eliminates some of the unhealthiest aspects of the Western diet, but it’s not so restrictive as to deter people from trying. There’s something to be said about approaching any diet as unrestrictive since viewing foods as “good” or “bad” is a slippery slope to disordered eating.
When marketing to this audience, the term “vegan” won’t necessarily turn them off. It might be an attractive term depending on where they are on their journey. With food, taste is everything so overall, tasty food is key. Flexitarians are the bridge between vegan and non-vegan. They can be the trusted source for non-vegans when they say how delicious vegan food is (and it is delicious, by the way).
Products like the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger are more geared to this crowd, too. As a vegan, I don’t miss the taste of meat so the Beyond Burger just blows my mind. It’s showing up as the only vegan option on menus these days, and that shows a lack of understanding of veganism. The Beyond Burger tastes so much like meat, it freaked me out the first time I ate it. For those who like the taste of meat but want a healthier, ethical, and greener option, these imitation meat products are right up their alley.
But beyond food, there are vegan products like apparel, makeup, and kitchen supplies. The marketing message here is all about sustainability, with a splash of animal welfare thrown in. I see many of these brands hiding the “vegan” aspect of their products on a back page somewhere and striving forward with the environmental messaging. That’s fine, but I think the word vegan should come out of the closet a little bit more.