How social media helped Vivera’s vegan steak sell out at Tesco

The plant-based pioneers explain how social media helped unleash its popular vegan product on the UK market.

11 July 2018
meat alternativeNPDplant-basedsupermarketsvegan

Here’s a stat for you: there are a reported 3.196bn social media users in the world today. That means that, of the people connected to the internet, social media has 42% of them in its grasp.

Now, some may not buy into the whole social media game. Relentlessly tweeting about Love Island or Instagramming chopped garlic on a slow Wednesday evening. But in terms of marketing and business strategy, not only must social media not be ignored, it should be embraced wholeheartedly.

The likes of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are some of the most important tools for a business, young or old. (We’re very much on board here at Food Spark, with our Instagram and Twitter very much part of the day to day.)

The beauty of social media is that there’s a multitude of different approaches to be had in order to satisfy your customer base – be it casual, professional or even outrageously ‘out there.’ The vegan boom, for example, has been massively helped along its way through various social media, including plant-based steak from Vivera, for example.

After launching in May, nearly 40,000 steaks (the initial batch stocked at Tesco) nearly sold out within the first few days.

Tesco tweeted the release of the steak, with Vivera’s own social media accounts exploding.

We got in touch with Vivera’s social media man, Gerben Vink, to get a little insight on how they used social media to channel the product release into a major UK supermarket.

Have you experienced a boost in social media activity since the steak was released in Tesco in the UK?

We certainly have! The steak release gave us over 6,000 extra followers on Instagram in about four weeks. We were just starting to build a UK brand with Facebook, and it was just in its infancy [when the steak launched into Tesco] with a little over 300 followers. After the steak launch, we’re passing the 2,000 mark.

It’s been a madhouse, with 100-125 Instagram tags and mentions a day! Twitter is also popular as, on any given day, we have around 10-15 mentions and tons of notifications on our tweets or retweets.

Since the release, we’ve experienced an increase in UK followers and also in America and Australia. It’s amazing to see how much impact our 100% plant-based steak has on the world.

Instagram is our main source of communication, and we want it to help us build our UK brand. Our total reach is around 40m people worldwide, looking at our media around the world, so we’ve reached a lot of people. We’ve also launched various other products at Tesco’s, such as the veggie fish goujons, which have also been a hit!

We’ve used the same social media formula in promoting this product and it works quite well. We’ve just launched at Sainsbury’s and are hoping to launch to more UK retailers soon.

So social media has helped spread the word about your products?

Absolutely. We made a rough plan just before the launch which told people what the steak is and when it was coming. We only made two posts prior to the release of our steak promotion video and the rest we’ve just improvised along the way, feeling how the fans and new followers reacted to the posts and if they liked them or not.

Social media is a quick and easy way of engaging with your fans with your content. We’ve also done it by posting a commercial on our Facebook page and on YouTube, which was a huge success. On Instagram, we’ve posted a picture of our steak and the package the next day.

Seeing the recent increase in steak sales, it clearly helped spread the word, as they’re selling out!

What would be a typical day in the office for you?

I’m in the office around 8:30am. By then I’ve already checked our social media accounts (Facebook NL/UK, Twitter and Instagram) for anything I’ve missed during the night and the early morning hours.

I create a few posts in the day for Instagram and Facebook (NL and UK), manage both those posts and previous ones, and notifications, and then it’s already lunch.

After lunch, it’s answering mail, keeping up with notifications and talking to customers via web care.

It’s great to have a direct touch and feel with your customers as they experience the product. At Vivera, we believe the customers are the basis of your brand image. Your social media fans will tell an important story about your brand; that story is more powerful than a marketing budget.

How you juggle your social media accounts is key to ensuring maximum coverage. But there is no secret sauce to perfect social media activity and going viral. My best advice would be just to engage with your followers – especially on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Do this consistently and you’ll create a feeling with the customers. You need to let them become a fan of your product and start to talk about it – that’s the most powerful thing you can have on social media.

Influencers and, really, any social media user are way more powerful than any of our social media communication, because through them you reach more people and new opportunities.

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