July 7, 2023
From Vegconomist

Lisa Feria, as a good deal of our readers will know, is CEO and managing partner of Stray Dog Capital, a prolific US-based venture capital fund focused on the plant-based market, investing in early-stage food, food-tech, and biotech companies that set out to transform our broken food system.

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in food operations and CPGs and led billion-dollar brands in multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble and General Mills. Lisa has been selected twice by the “Top 100 Most Influential Latinas” list. A passionate vegan and triathlete, Lisa serves on the boards of Mercy for Animals, the Great Plains SPCA, Miyoko’s Creamery, and Deliciou.

In this article, Lisa explores practical strategies to enhance consumer sentiment for the alternative meat space, no matter your target.

How to Boost Consumer Sentiment for the Alternative Meat Space

By Lisa Feria

The alternative meat industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, driven by evolving consumer preferences, environmental concerns, and advancements in food technology. As a Venture Capitalist focused on supporting innovative businesses, I’ve closely observed the rise of alternative meat companies and the challenges they face in garnering positive consumer sentiment.

“…over 40% of the population considers themselves to be flexitarian and are seeking plant-based options”

It is important to distinguish between cohort-based behaviors (including food purchases) and cross-cohort motivations and actions. Millennials and Gen-Zs both consider sustainability-based factors when making purchasing decisions. For example, Gen-Z is much less likely to drive or have a driver’s license citing environmental and financial concerns.

 In the 1980s, nearly half of all 16-year-olds had a driver’s license. These days, it’s about one in four Gen Zers. Meanwhile, over 40% of the population considers themselves to be flexitarian and are seeking plant-based options that satisfy their palates. Flexitarians tend to be the most price-sensitive group and their purchases have been significantly affected by food inflation.

Young couple eating burger outdoors, APA
Image courtesy of APA

1. Raise awareness and find your design target

To increase consumer sentiment toward alternative meat products, education and awareness are key. Many consumers are still unfamiliar with the benefits and possibilities offered by alternative meats. Companies should invest in marketing to highlight the environmental benefits, health advantages, and ethical considerations associated with alternative meat consumption.

Companies should utilize a multi-channel approach by leveraging social media, partnerships with influencers, and engaging content to disseminate accurate information. Consumer sentiment can be positively influenced by transparent communication about the ingredients, sourcing, and production methods used in alternative meat products. By dispelling myths and misconceptions, companies can build trust and inspire consumers to make informed choices.

“You may want everyone to buy your products, but you cannot design a product that fits everyone”

When designing your communication – the more targeted the better. Spend some time determining your design target, the group of consumers who you are trying to win. You may want everyone to buy your products, but you cannot design a product that fits everyone. A design target helps craft powerful, breakthrough communication.

La Vie Burger King
© La Vie

2. Focus on Taste and Texture

While the environmental and ethical aspects of alternative meats are compelling, taste and texture remain vital factors in driving widespread adoption. To win over skeptical consumers, it is crucial to prioritize the culinary experience. Alternative meat companies should invest in research and development to improve the taste, texture, and cooking versatility of their products.

Engage professional chefs and food scientists to refine recipes, experiment with flavor profiles, and ensure alternative meat products can be seamlessly integrated into diverse cuisines. By creating delicious, flavorful alternatives that rival traditional meats, companies can captivate the taste buds of even the most discerning consumers.

Engage in consumer testing with your design target to ensure that your product taste excites them and that the price, taste, and experience continuum are well balanced. An easy way to do this is to ensure you are introducing a feedback loop mechanism that pulls in consumer feedback into R&D and adjusts based on that input.

© Equinom

3. Foster Partnerships with Traditional Food Industry

Collaborating with established players in the traditional food industry can be a powerful strategy to increase consumer sentiment for alternative meats. By partnering with renowned restaurants, fast-food chains, and grocery store chains, alternative meat companies can expand their reach and tap into existing consumer networks.

Joint marketing campaigns, limited-time menu offerings, and co-branded initiatives can generate excitement and curiosity among consumers. Such partnerships demonstrate that alternative meats are not just a niche product, but a viable and delicious option embraced by the mainstream food industry. For example, Chunk Foods recently partnered with a top-notch restaurant in New York City (Coletta’s), and Just Egg is offering their products at Barnes & Noble’s in-store coffee stores.

Vegan Egg Sandwich and Coffee
©Barnes & Noble

4. Leverage Influencers and Brand Ambassadors

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for shaping consumer sentiment. Identify influential individuals, including chefs, nutritionists, and lifestyle bloggers, who resonate with your target audience and share a vision for sustainable and ethical food choices.

“Authentic endorsements from trusted personalities can significantly impact consumer sentiment”

Collaborate with these influencers to create engaging content, including recipes, taste tests, and personal testimonials, showcasing the benefits and versatility of alternative meat products. Authentic endorsements from trusted personalities can significantly impact consumer sentiment and drive interest in alternative meats.

5. Emphasize Sustainability and Environmental Impact

One of the most compelling selling points of alternative meats is their lower environmental footprint compared to traditional meat production. Consumers, especially the younger generation, are increasingly conscious of their ecological impact and seek sustainable alternatives.

oekologischer-fussabdruck-carbon footstep
© Creativemarc – stock.adobe.com

In your communications, highlight the reduced greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water consumption associated with alternative meat production. Communicate the positive environmental impact of choosing alternative meats, framing it as a personal contribution to a greener and more sustainable future. A McKinsey report found that consumers care about sustainability and back it up with their wallets, by following the sales of products claiming to be environmentally or socially responsible.


As the alternative meat industry continues to grow, increasing consumer sentiment is crucial for its long-term success. By focusing on education, taste, partnerships, influencers, and sustainability, companies in the alternative meat space can foster positive perceptions among consumers.

Remember, consumer sentiment is not only driven by product attributes but also by emotional connections and shared values. By effectively communicating the benefits, addressing concerns, and continually innovating, the alternative meat industry can pave the way for a more sustainable and ethical food system

Source: Vegconomist.com