Consumer desire to eat less meat for health and environmental benefits has driven significant growth in meat alternatives. The Maple Leaf brand’s consumers, mostly parents shopping for their families, desire healthy, affordable meals made with natural ingredients that their kids will want to eat. They are traditionally meat-eaters, interested in plant-based foods and looking to make sustainable food choices. To address this request and reduce collective meat consumption, Maple Leaf Foods launched a new line of protein products in early 2020: Maple Leaf 50/50™. The products contain 50% plant-based protein to offer a simple and easy to understand list of ingredients, combined with 50% meat to deliver the familiar taste and texture that families love.
After less than 6 months on the market, the Maple Leaf 50/50 concept is resonating with consumers and piquing interest from coast to coast. The launch campaign reached 93% of Canadians an average of 26 times in a 3-month period. YouTube results have registered at three times the CPG average for brand lift and are driving a 22% lift in purchase intent across English-speaking Canada, while campaign creative has resulted in a 134x lift in daily traffic to the Maple Leaf brand website. The company makes its product line with recyclable packaging that carries its Carbon Zero logo, reflecting the fact that Maple Leaf Foods is the world’s first major food company to become carbon neutral.
Consumer belief that plant-based proteins compromise on taste and consumer desire to reduce, but not eliminate, meat from their diet remain proven barriers to the increased consumption of plant-based proteins. Education on the health, environmental and sensory benefits of Maple Leaf 50/50™ are needed to access the consumer consideration set, while product trials are needed to drive acceptance and product adoption.