College Students and Veganism
We recently discussed Fast Fashion and College Students and how although there is a drive amongst Gen Z to be more sustainable, many still buy into fast fashion. Today we will be switching gears to explore an avenue where college students are choosing to be sustainable: veganism. Two main reasons why veganism has become popular are its health benefits and the moral objectives many face toward killing animals or animal husbandry in general. Its rise has precipitated a greater demand for vegan menu options. Many restaurants and even fast-food chains introduced plant-based vegan-friendly menu options. The vegan lifestyle has lured people everywhere, specifically in the younger generations. We will analyze what marketing strategies have provoked its recent popularity and how it is growing among college students.
No surprise here! Social media fuels anything popular amongst Gen Z’ers nowadays. On platforms such as Tiktok, many users, specifically vegan influencers, post videos of vegan recipes they use. The recipes are typically alternative takes on popular dishes such as curry or pasta. The viral trend of blindfolding someone and having them taste test a regular burger vs. a “fake” burger has sparked a great demand for Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Since many cannot taste the difference between the regular burger and the vegan burger, more people switched to veganism. The same goes for the many vegan recipes found on social media from influencers’ posts.
With many college students now on Tiktok or constantly scrolling through their Instagram explore pages, veganism is portrayed to them through these platforms as something “hip” and sustainable and still a tasty diet. College students are already known for being passionate and loud about things they believe in. This is true especially when it comes to the environment. Veganism offers an eco-friendly, healthy, and talked about lifestyle thanks to social media.
Almost every college student knows or has heard of someone who is vegan. In fact, according to a recent College Pulse survey of 2,001 students, 14% of college students are vegan or vegetarian. If you are looking to dine with someone who is vegan, you should do some research. This is where digital marketing strategies have been most effective in reaching a college audience. Programmatic strategies, in particular, can reach college students who are not yet converted vegans but may be researching the lifestyle or related products either for themselves or for that vegan friend they have to dine with. Retargeting can remind these students of that vegan dinner they made and re-engage them with vegan products previously researched.
Considering the high percentage of college students currently vegan or vegetarian, many businesses in the food industry should adapt to include plant-based options in their inventory when marketing to college students. We predict that the number of students switching to a plant-based lifestyle will only increase in the coming years because of social media and digital marketing strategies.