🤔 Did you know…

The meat industry is worth $1 trillion? (yes, trillion, with a T)

In 2009, Ethan Brown visited the University of Missouri where he met researchers working on the technology to replicate the texture of meat proteins… using plants.

He bought the license and built a business that’s worth $455 million today

This is the story of Beyond Meat and what you can learn from their breakthrough success…

This post is sponsored by Ignite Digital and Sleepless ❤️

Imagine this…

You’re at your favorite restaurant, scanning the menu for something new.

Frankly, you’re bored of the same old, same old.

Your eyes land on a burger. But not just any burger–this burger promises to deliver everything you love about beef burgers, without the meat.

Can plants really taste like beef?

Seeming to have read your mind, your friend orders the meatless burger and then says reassuringly…

“Try it, you’ll love it.”

She promises you won’t even know it’s not beef.

You’re skeptical. But you order it anyway.

Why did you find yourself biting into a plant-based burger even though you’re a meat-lover?

In today’s special edition of Why We Buy 🧠we’ll analyze a well-known company to see how they use buyer psychology principles in their business.

Let’s explore Beyond Meat—a brainy business that flipped the entire meat industry on its head…

“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

A Look Inside Beyond Meat 🤑

You may think meatless meat is a recent fad, but *actually* hydrogen fuel cell scientist Ethan Brown was thinking about the potential of plant proteins for more than 14 years.

Their first product (chicken strips) wasn’t *exactly* gobble-worthy (CNBC called them a failure) so Beyond Meat pivoted and doubled down on their burger.

They boasted a successful IPO years later with the stock price surging to $65.75 (more than 163% above the IPO price).

And PETA named them ‘Company of the Year’ in 2013.

Today, their products are sold in over 80 countries. They’ve even expanded into new lines (and some old ones) like ‘Beyond Steak’ and ‘Beyond Burger Chicken-Style’.

Meatless meat is the new wave in sustainable eating, and Beyond Meat is leading the charge.

How Beyond Meat Uses Buyer Psychology 🧠

Veggie alternatives aren’t new, yet Beyond Meat created meatless-meat momentum.

Beyond Meat’s products look, cook, and taste like meat. Here was the first veggie alternative that *still* felt familiar to meat-eaters.

Here are a few clever ways Beyond Meat is making plant-based meat trendy (and how you can use them to make your brand sizzle):

Bandwagon Effect

One of Beyond Meat’s super-smart strategies is that they repositioned meatless alternatives as a social *norm*—not a niche product for hippy-types.

They spent mega bucks on ads like these:

Referring to January as “Veganuary” made it seem like going meatless for a month was already popular, making skeptics more likely to hop on the bandwagon and give it a try.

It helped normalize plant-based foods to a broader audience. And the more people tried it, the more people liked it.

Mere Exposure Effect

If there’s one lesson to take away from Beyond Meat—one idea, one genius marketing move—it’s this:

Beyond Meat strategically placed their products in the meat section of the grocery store—not hidden away in the health foods section.

This meant every time someone went shopping, they’d see Beyond Meat’s burgers on display.

Embrace delegation

Why is this such a brilliant marketing ploy?

Because the more we see something, the more we come to like it, making us more likely to buy it. Behavioral scientists call this the Mere Exposure Effect.

Placing their burgers in the meat section subtly shows customers that Beyond Burgers is a real substitute for meat. It puts them in the same category. Making their product more noticeable and more popular.


Beyond Meat taps into the growing consumer consciousness about health and the environment.

Showing their burgers side-by-side with the meat alternative, Beyond Burger becomes an ethical alternative (that also tastes and looks like meat).

Oatly used a similar tactic when positioning their milk brand. Buyers are smart–they wanna buy stuff that’s good for the environment.

For long-standing meat-eaters, it’s a real battle to choose the alternative, framing Beyond Meat as the more ethical alternative makes that decision easier.

Thinking About Your Business 🤔

Beyond Meat has revolutionized the food industry.

They don’t just sell plant-based products—they sell you the opportunity to make a positive impact in the world by what you eat.

How can you get a bite of their success?

Ask yourself:

Q: How can you make a ‘weird’ product seem normal?

For Beyond Meat, it wasn’t just about offering a vegetarian option, rather it was about making meatless a *viable* alternative to meat. Dig deep into what your customers see as the accepted norm and ask yourself how you can reverse-engineer to your benefit.

Q: How can you position your product in a winning category?

Beyond Meat didn’t want to be seen as “the best meatless burger”—they wanted to be “a delicious burger for meat lovers”. Full stop. By putting their product side-by-side with meat-based alternatives, Beyond Meat positioned itself as a feel-good burger.

Remember, YOU get to decide which category you compete in. Choosing the right category can be the difference between leading a global movement and total obscurity.

Q: Can your product tell a story that resonates with societal trends?

Great marketing it’s about being part of a bigger conversation. The brilliance is injecting your brand into that conversation.

Beyond Meat made a mark by jumping on the back of big-hitting topics.

Climate change has been in the headlines for much of the 21st century, so they position themselves as part of the solution.

Ask yourself what’s going on right now and how can you capitalize on that?

The Short of It 💥

Beyond Meat’s success isn’t just about a product; it’s about understanding and aligning with customer values, challenging industry norms, and having a narrative that resonates with societal trends.

Remember, it’s not just *what* you sell, but how you package your offer that matters most.

Until next time, happy selling. 


Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

When you’re ready, there are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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If you can figure out what makes people tick, click and buy, you can make big $$$. We're working on a new research certification program. Want first dibs when we launch it? Hop on the waitlist.

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