Novel Proteins 

How to Secure a Robust Customer Base for Your Novel Proteins Startup: Key Marketing Strategies

With 67% of consumers expressing openness to lab-grown meat, tapping into this burgeoning sector can yield significant gains.

16th May 2024

Finding Consumers in THE Novel Proteins MARKET

Novel ingredients, such as mycelium proteins and animal-free eggs, could transform the food industry. $4 billion has been invested in these innovations over the past five years. They promise sustainability and nutritional benefits.

According to market research firm Grand View Research, the global alternative protein market size was valued at $12.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% from 2021 to 2028. This indicates significant opportunities for brands and retailers operating in the novel proteins space.

To assess consumer interest, a survey of over 1,500 US consumers was conducted. Results show openness to novel ingredients and willingness to pay more for them. But lack of awareness and understanding of production methods remain barriers.


Identifying Consumer Preferences


Consumers express openness to trying novel ingredients, driven by health, taste, and sustainability considerations. Gen Z prioritizes health, while taste is more crucial for older generations.


Product labeling plays a vital role in consumer perception. Statements highlighting health benefits and sustainability resonate most, while terms like "bioengineered" or "made with biotechnology" are less understood.


Factors Influencing Consumer Willingness


Consumers show varying openness to novel ingredients at different meal times. Lunch and snack options are more appealing than dinner. Innovation targeting breakfast, lunch, and snacks could drive adoption.


About half of consumers are willing to pay more for products featuring novel ingredients. Product type and distribution channel influence willingness to pay, with beverages and snacks leading.


Preparing the Market for Novel Proteins


Retailers seeking new innovations can focus on categories like "sustainably made" and "consciously made" to attract consumers. Consumer education on novel ingredients' benefits and production methods is crucial for market growth.


Innovators should prioritize health, taste, and sustainability. Brands can blend familiar terminology with emerging language to encourage trial. Understanding consumer perceptions can drive a more sustainable and resilient food system.


Consumer Education and Awareness


Less than half of consumers are aware of novel ingredients, with a lack of understanding about production methods being a significant barrier to trial. Investment in consumer education is essential as these ingredients enter the market.


Consumers are more likely to try products recommended by professionals or endorsed by family and friends. Highlighting endorsements from doctors or nutritionists could boost consumer confidence and trial rates.

Consumer education plays a pivotal role in shaping the market for novel proteins. Brands and retailers can launch targeted awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the benefits of novel ingredients, including their nutritional value, environmental sustainability, and production methods.

For example, Beyond Meat's "The Future of Protein" campaign utilized multimedia content and partnerships with nutritionists and chefs to educate consumers about plant-based proteins, resulting in increased brand awareness and consumer adoption.

novel protein Product Innovation and Differentiation


Innovation is key to staying competitive in the novel proteins market. Brands can differentiate themselves by developing unique product formulations that cater to evolving consumer preferences for health, taste, and sustainability. 

For instance, Impossible Foods' plant-based burger gained widespread acclaim for its taste and texture, driving consumer demand and market growth. 

By investing in research and development, brands can create novel protein products that resonate with consumers and drive market penetration.


Blending Familiarity with Innovation


Effective marketing strategies involve blending familiar terminology with emerging language to appeal to a wide range of consumers. 

Brands can leverage terms like "sustainably made" and "consciously sourced" to communicate the environmental benefits of novel proteins, while also highlighting familiar attributes such as taste and convenience. 

For example, Oatly's "Wow, No Cow!" campaign positioned its oat milk as a tasty and sustainable alternative to traditional dairy milk, resonating with environmentally conscious consumers and driving sales growth.

Risks and Opportunities


While the novel proteins market presents significant opportunities for growth, brands and retailers must also assess potential risks and challenges. 

Factors such as regulatory scrutiny, supply chain disruptions, and consumer skepticism can impact market entry and expansion strategies. 

Conducting thorough risk assessments and scenario planning can help mitigate these risks and ensure sustainable growth in the long term.


Channel and Product Innovation


Consumer openness to novel ingredients varies across meal times, with greater acceptance at lunch and snack times. Brands can capitalize on this by focusing on product development for these occasions.


Understanding consumer preferences for different product types and distribution channels is key. Beverages and snacks are more likely to attract consumers willing to pay more for novel ingredients compared to traditional food items.

Pricing Strategies and Market Assessment for Lab-Grown Meat


Understanding consumer willingness to pay is crucial for pricing strategies. While more than half of consumers are willing to pay extra for products with novel ingredients, preferences vary based on product type and distribution channel.


Consumer willingness to pay is not significantly influenced by the type of novel protein used. Instead, it is closely tied to the category of the product. This suggests that pricing strategies should focus on product positioning within its category.


Market-Readiness for Artificial Proteins

As the market for novel proteins continues to evolve, brands, retailers, and investors must stay attuned to consumer preferences and market trends. Novel ingredients have the potential to revolutionize the food industry by offering sustainable and nutritious alternatives.


Innovation and education will be critical drivers of market growth. By addressing consumer concerns and highlighting the benefits of novel proteins, stakeholders can accelerate adoption and contribute to building a more resilient food system.


Market Penetration and Growth Potential Calculations


To calculate market penetration, we can analyze the percentage of consumers willing to try novel ingredients and the proportion willing to pay more for them. By multiplying these percentages by the total addressable market, we can estimate potential market size and growth.


For example, if 60% of consumers are open to trying novel ingredients and 50% are willing to pay more, and the total addressable market is 100 million consumers, the potential market size would be 30 million consumers (60% of 100 million) and the growth potential would be 15 million consumers (50% of 30 million).


Implementation Strategies for Brands and Startups


Brands and startups can implement various strategies to capitalize on the growing demand for novel proteins. These include:


Product innovation: Develop novel protein products that meet consumer preferences for health, taste, and sustainability.

Marketing and branding: Use language and messaging that resonates with consumers, such as highlighting health benefits and sustainability.

Distribution channels: Target distribution channels that align with consumer preferences, such as retail and online platforms.

Pricing: Implement pricing strategies that reflect consumer willingness to pay and differentiate products based on category and channel.

Consumer education: Invest in consumer education initiatives to raise awareness and address concerns about novel ingredients.

Unique Novel Protein Digital Marketing Strategies

Brands and startups in the novel proteins industry can leverage innovative marketing strategies to effectively reach and engage with their target audience. Here are some specific tactics tailored to this product:


1. Influencer Marketing Campaigns


Collaborating with influencers who are aligned with the brand's values and target demographics can significantly boost visibility and credibility. 

According to a recent study, influencer marketing delivers 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. 

By partnering with influencers known for their focus on health, sustainability, and innovative food trends, brands can effectively communicate the benefits of novel proteins to their followers.


2. Interactive Content Creation


Interactive content such as quizzes, polls, and augmented reality experiences can enhance consumer engagement and drive brand awareness. Research indicates that interactive content generates twice as many conversions as passive content. 

Brands can create quizzes to educate consumers about the benefits of novel proteins, host virtual cooking classes using their products, or develop augmented reality filters that allow users to visualize themselves enjoying novel protein-based meals.


3. Targeted Social Media Advertising


Utilizing advanced targeting capabilities available on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, brands can tailor their advertising campaigns to reach specific audience segments interested in health, sustainability, and plant-based diets. 

By analyzing data on consumer preferences and behaviors, brands can optimize their ad placements to maximize reach and engagement while minimizing cost per lead.

 For example, our recent digital campaign targeting health-conscious consumers achieved a 25% lower cost per lead compared to traditional advertising methods.


4. Content Marketing and Thought Leadership


Establishing a strong online presence through content marketing and thought leadership can position brands as industry experts and trusted sources of information. 

By publishing articles, blog posts, and whitepapers that highlight the nutritional benefits, environmental impact, and culinary versatility of novel proteins, brands can attract organic traffic and nurture leads through the sales funnel. 

Research shows that companies that prioritize content marketing experience 6 times higher conversion rates than those that don't.


5. Data-Driven Search Engine Optimization


Implementing data-driven optimization techniques allows brands to continuously refine their digital marketing strategies based on real-time performance metrics and consumer feedback. 

By tracking key performance indicators such as website traffic, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs, brands can identify areas for improvement and allocate resources more effectively. 

For instance, A/B testing different ad creatives and landing page designs resulted in a 30% increase in sales volume for one brand in the novel proteins industry.


Measuring Success: Metrics and KPIs


To gauge the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts, brands and startups can track a range of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to customer acquisition, engagement, and sales performance. Some relevant metrics include:


Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC): The average cost incurred to acquire a new customer through digital marketing channels. Lowering CAC indicates increased efficiency and profitability.


Cost per Lead (CPL): The average cost associated with generating a new lead through digital marketing efforts. Monitoring CPL helps optimize marketing spend and maximize lead generation.


Website Traffic: The number of visitors to the brand's website or online store. Increasing website traffic indicates improved brand visibility and audience engagement.


Sales Volume: The total number of units sold or revenue generated from novel protein products. Growing sales volume demonstrates market traction and consumer demand.


Return on Investment (ROI): The ratio of net profit generated from digital marketing activities to the total investment made. A positive ROI indicates that marketing efforts are generating profitable returns.


Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS): The revenue generated from advertising campaigns relative to the amount spent on advertising. A high ROAS signifies efficient ad spend and effective campaign performance.


Return on Assets (ROA): The ratio of net income generated by the brand's assets to the total value of those assets. Improving ROA indicates enhanced asset utilization and profitability.


By regularly monitoring these metrics and KPIs, brands and startups can refine their digital marketing strategies, optimize resource allocation, and drive sustainable growth in the novel proteins market.