In many countries around the world, vegan food brands seem to be taking over.
From Impossible Foods to Beyond Meat, vegan brands have been steadily gaining popularity and influence over the past few years — and it’s a trend we don’t see dying out any time soon.
Back in 2019, we took a look at Germany to see which vegan brands were the reigning champions of brand awareness and consideration, as well as how certain niche audiences were performing.
In this updated version, we’ll be revisiting the brands discussed to see how they’ve fared over the last three years — who has gained traction and who’s been left in the dust.
So keep reading to learn more about Germany’s growing vegan influence!
Veganism: The Dawn of a New Age
Remember when vegans were considered a minority group and vegan food brands were relatively unheard of?
Now that people are becoming more eco-conscious and invested in leading sustainable lives — quite a substantial chunk of the general public are trading their meat and dairy for plant-based protein and foods.
Beef is out and tofu is in!
This isn’t surprising in countries such as the United States or Canada, but what about in more traditionally meat-loving countries, such as Germany: Land of the Wurst?
Based on our research, the stereotype of the sausage-loving German was turned right on its head. Believe it or not, in 2019 Germany was actually the global leader in vegan product development!
This was amazing news for vegan brands, as it showed that Germany could be a great market for expansion. But what about the brands that had already attempted to break into this market? Did they manage to develop a loyal and dedicated audience?
Let’s take a look.
The Results Are In: Germany & Vegan Food Brands in 2019
Questions concerning which vegan brands were finding success in Germany left us curious, so we decided to investigate further.
To find answers, we surveyed 1,000 Germans in June 2019 to discover which vegan food brands they were aware of and which ones they would consider using.
The goal was to better understand the general public’s brand awareness and consideration levels for our chosen vegan food brands: Veganz, Alpro, Made with Luve, Naturli, Oatly, and Simply V.
Below you’ll find the results.
Brand Awareness Winner: Alpro
To figure out brand awareness levels, we provided survey participants with a list of the above-mentioned vegan food brands and asked which ones they were familiar with.
Based on our results, Alpro came first with an impressive brand awareness level of 74%.
Surprisingly, this Belgian brand was miles ahead of local German brands — which we found to be unusual, as Germans tend to stick with German-made products.
In second and third place, 33% were aware of Simply V and 27% knew Veganz. The bottom three brands were Made with Luve (12%), Oatly (9%), and Naturli' (8%).
As we can see, Alpro must have been doing something right in regards to brand marketing in Germany. Hopefully, the other brands will have taken note of and possibly incorporated some of their main competitor's tactics into their own brand awareness campaigns.
Oatly, Naturli, and Made with Luve — we hope you’ve been promoting yourselves more since 2019!
Brand Consideration Winner: Alpro
Alpro takes the top spot once again, and the order of consideration levels match up exactly to the previously reported brand awareness levels.
Interestingly, Alpro came in first with 56% of respondents saying they’d consider purchasing from the brand. Simply V was next in line with 18% of respondents reporting consideration.
Veganz came in third at 17%, followed by Made with Luve at 6%. In the bottom two spots, only 6% of respondents said they would consider using Oatly and 4% for Naturli.
Somewhat surprisingly, our chosen brands ended up in the exact same order for both brand awareness and consideration. While Made with Luve and Naturli tied one another for the largest percentage decrease at 50%, Alpro once again reigned supreme reporting the smallest percentage decrease at 24%.
For these results, Simply V and Veganz came in second and third respectively. However, they are still quite some distance from Alpro’s top brand consideration score of 56%.
Still, it’s fair to say that Simply V and Veganz were doing a lot better than the other brands when it came to both brand awareness and consideration.
A Deep Dive into Vegan Food Brands’ Niche Audiences
When considering our data, we thought it made sense to see if our participants’ locations had any influence over the results.
Mainly, we wanted to know if a love for vegan food brands is a “city thing”, considering Berlin has been labeled the “vegan capital of the world”.
However, when we took a look at the respondents’ data for Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich — Germany’s three most populous cities — we did not find much difference in each brands’ brand awareness and consideration results.
Interestingly enough, things didn’t change when we compared these three cities to smaller German cities or rural locations.
Additionally, another noteworthy discovery was that, once again, there was no change in the results when we looked closer at participants’ ages and gender.
It seems that an interest in veganism spans locations and demographics!
Vegan Food Brands Revisited: 2021
Back in 2019, Alpro was our clear winner. From awareness to consideration, this Belgian brand reigned supreme.
But what have our vegan brands been up to in the last three years?
Instead of re-running our survey, let’s to take a look at Alpro’s achievements over the last few years to get a feel for how successful they’ve been.
As of March 2021, Alpro improved its B Corp accreditation and become one of the highest certified food and drink companies in the UK. With its sustainable innovation strategy and ongoing environmental commitments, Alpro is dedicated to considering the health and sustainability of its stakeholders.
When looking at the popularity of different yogurt brands in Germany from 2017 to 2020, Alpro saw a 38% increase in brand usage from 2.6% in 2017 to 3.6% in 2020.
Furthermore, Alpro’s parent company, Danone, plans to triple worldwide plant-based sales from €1.7 billion to €5 billion by 2025 — which indicates that this vegan brand plans to continue its world domination. Impressive!
Source: Simply V
Founded in 2015, Simply V has been working hard over the past six years to achieve market dominance. Their approach has been slightly different than the competition, with a focus on creating delicious dairy alternatives not just for vegans, but for “flexitarians” — those that sometimes eat meat but try for a more plant-based diet.
In 2020, the brand announced that it had achieved an almost 80% market share in plant-based cheese alternatives, making them the “undisputed category leader.” By marketing to more than just vegans and placing focus on taste and function, Simply V has been very successful since 2019.
With this in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised if Simply V’s brand awareness and consideration levels have increased a good bit!
Arriving consistently in 3rd place, Veganz reported fairly good brand awareness and consideration levels in our 2019 survey. With storefronts all over Germany and their own vegan cheese factory in Berlin, Veganz has definitely been growing over the past three years.
As of 2021, Veganz has launched 120 products internationally — with their delicious vegan goodies on the shelves of 18,000 stores in 28 countries worldwide. This is an impressive achievement, and their market expansion indicates that they’ve been doing quite well for themselves since our survey was conducted.
With new international recognition and more products than ever before, Veganz should also have increased its brand awareness and consideration over the last three years.
Made with Luve
Source: Made with Luve
As our fourth place contestant, Made with Luve did respectably well in terms of establishing brand awareness.
In January 2021, they rolled out a huge “Veganuary” marketing campaign with plenty of coupons, social media ads, competitions, influencer marketing, and PR campaigns. Though it’s hard to say how successful this campaign was without data from Made with Luve itself, it’s clear that this brand is using all the available resources to get the word out about its products, including trendy, fun campaigns.
We’ll definitely be watching this vegan brand in the years to come.
This Swedish-based company might be the dark horse of our vegan food brand competition.
Founded in the mid-1990s, Oatly has been around for many years. However, when CEO Toni Petersson arrived on the scene, they re-launched their brand in 2012, with an increased focus on health and sustainability.
Since 2019, they’ve grown tremendously and expanded their market reach. In 2020, Oatly commissioned a study by the German Society for Consumer Research (GFK) which found that the consumption of cow’s milk is on the decline. Additionally, one-third of the German population does not drink milk at all — a very impressive amount.
However, a great deal of Oatly’s recent success can be attributed to its quirky and unique marketing style. Humorous guerrilla-style billboards and nonsensical tweets have garnered attention around the globe. In terms of brand identity, Oatly most definitely knows its voice, which has led to an increase in sales.
Oatly also doesn’t mince words when it comes to discussing environmental impact and their climate-based footprint. As one of Oatly’s key markets, the brand offers a wide range of products in Germany — from oat milk to ice cream to oat-based spreads.
We would not be the least bit surprised if Oatly has been building brand awareness and increasing consideration since 2019 with its outspoken environmental policies and attention-grabbing ads.
Source: Naturli Facebook Page
Consistently coming is last, Danish company Naturli’ didn’t fare too well in our 2019 survey.
Perhaps it has to do with Naturli’s slightly more limited product offerings or vegan-focused advertising, but it hasn’t seen a surge in popularity that competitors like Oatly or Simply V over the last three years.
Furthermore, Naturli’ had to recall its Organic Spreadable in August 2020 due to the risk of mold growth, which could have led to some distrust of the brand. However, CEO Henrik Lund admits that while they are “a relatively small company in the sector”, they’re investing in innovative projects with a focus on reducing food waste.
Let’s hope that Naturli’ can make their mark on the vegan food industry, as we’re excited to see what they come up with!
It’s clear that veganism and vegan food brands have seen an increase in popularity since 2019, with more and more Germans — and people around the world — turning to meat and dairy substitutes in an effort to lead healthier, more sustainable lifestyles.
If this trend continues, we’ll be interested to see how our chosen vegan brands fare over the next few years, as well as if any new brands pop up to challenge them!
Our parting words of advice for these brands? Track your brand performance and that of your competitors! It’s one of the most reliable, accurate ways to understand your brand’s growth and market position.
Updated by: Cory Schröder on 08.06.21