Data Journalist

Have brands seen a consistent return on their attempts to appeal to Britons taking part in Veganuary?

Over 400,000 people worldwide made the pledge to cut out animal products for January this year, and brands were ready and waiting to make sure they had new products lined up for Veganuary 2020. 

In the first week of January we looked at some of the fast food brands that released new vegan products and saw significant improvement to their BrandIndex metrics, but has this initial boost fizzled out over the course of the month?

Have brands seen a consistent change in their Buzz Scores?

When we looked at Buzz Scores (which measures if consumers have heard something positive or negative about the brand in the last two weeks) in the first week of January, Greggs had led the charge by teasing its new product release throughout late December. Now we can see that the bakery chain has continued to boost its Buzz Score, peaking at 66 in the last week of the month. However, this could be a result of the brands announcement it was partnering with Just Eat, to offer its products for delivery for the first time.

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Other brands finished the month with higher Buzz Scores as well, with KFC almost doubling its Buzz Score over the Veganuary period following the release of its new vegan offering, with its score rising from 10.6 to 18.0. McDonald’s, who saw a dip in their scores as at the start of January when their new vegetable-based dippers were initially poorly received online also saw an uptick from their initial scores but failed to make a significant gain, finishing the month with a positive Buzz Score of 28.7, down from 30.0 at the start of the month.

Did people keep talking about the brands after the initial hype?

Nearly all of the brands we examined saw big initial increases in consumers discussing the brands with friends and family – Greggs for example saw its Word of Mouth Exposure score double in the first two weeks of the month, rising from 14.9 to 30.5. However this boost did not last, and the bakery chain ended the month on a score of 14.5.

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This was the case for many brands, with McDonald’s also ending the month with a lower score than it started with, despite an initial boost, finishing Veganuary with a score of 19.2, down from 22.6 where it started. KFC also saw a substantial rise in the first two weeks, but ultimately finished the month with a lower score than it began with.

How did the number of consumers considering a purchase change?

While brands word of mouth exposure might not have been consistent, did the brands see any changes in how many consumers were considering purchasing their products? At the start of January we saw a steep rise in the Consideration Scores (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand) for the brands we looked at, as their new vegan foods were released. However, looking back at the month as a whole, we can see that for most of the brands this initial boost to consumers thinking about a purchase was short lived.

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McDonald’s and KFC all saw big initial boosts to their Consideration Scores but these scores did not remain consistent and eventually returned to roughly the same as the beginning of the period.

Greggs on the other hand managed to maintain a higher score throughout most of the month, ending on a score of 34.3, up 4 percentage points from the start of the month, and up 6.4 percentage points since mid-December.

What does this ultimately reveal?

YouGov’s BrandIndex data shows that, for the brands we examined, new vegan foods got consumers talking, with clear improvement in Buzz and Word of Mouth Exposure scores in the beginning of the month when the brands released their new items. For the bigger brands, such as Greggs and McDonalds, this change was more noticeable however, for almost all of the brands we looked at, the change was temporary and didn’t translate into a net gain of consumers considering purchasing from the brand.

The exception to this rule was bakery chain Greggs, who may have generated consistent increases in consideration by running advertising campaigns to tease their products ahead of their actual launch, as well as announcing a delivery partnership mid-January as the initial boosts to its metrics began to wane.

Image: Getty

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