‘Why People Have Coca Cola For Breakfast, And What Alt Dairy Can Learn’

Many people are emotionally attached to the food that they eat - should plant-based companies take this into account?


(updated )

3 Minutes Read

An AI-generated graphic image of a person sat at a table drinking Coca Cola for breakfast An expert is calling on plant-based companies to rethink their marketing strategies - Media Credit: Plant Based News / Generated with AI in Dale-3

A marketing expert has urged the alt dairy and alt protein industries to consider the emotional side of food when selling their products.

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Eric Mirbach, a content and brand specialist, wrote on LinkedIn that we must take “emotional stakes” into account “if we want lasting, sustainable change.”

At the start of the post, he stated that many people in the south of the USA drink Coca Cola for breakfast. “It’s traditional, and therefore a part of consumer’s identities,” he explained. “Mothers served their kids coke in the morning — and now these kids have become adults and do it with their kids.”

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The post then goes on to explain that there was huge resistance in these states when a new version of Coke was brought out. This, Mirbach says, was because people had an emotional attachment to the original drink that they knew and loved.

“People don’t like change to begin with, but what Coke had done by introducing an improved recipe was challenging some very deeply held feelings: safety, nostalgia, and motherly love.”

He then said that it was the marketing equivalent of “telling people their mother did it wrong.”

Parallels with plant-based food

A collection of vegan non-dairy milks in a UK supermarket
Adobe Stock Non-dairy milk is growing in popularity around the world

Mirbach compared this attitude to the attitude towards alternative dairy and protein. Many people have an emotional attachment to animal products, meaning companies should take this account when trying to tempt consumers away from them.

“All founders, marketeers and creatives in this space have to find a way to champion change and make it attractive,” he wrote. “And we have to do it while identifying and respecting the consumer’s deeply held beliefs and feelings.”

Read more: Is Whole Milk Having A Comeback? Nutritionist Warns Against Its ‘Health Benefits’

The post then goes on to state that serving someone a vegan meal could be interpreted as telling them they weren’t raised right, while bringing home a vegan option for Christmas may “tell your mom she didn’t raise you right.”

“The emotional stakes are very high,” he wrote. “If we want lasting, sustainable change, we have to take them into account. Actually, they should be front and center. Because stats won’t do it. Honest, good, human, and relatable communication will.”

Eric Mirbach is the cofounder and managing director of branding, content & venture studio Very Good Looking.

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