Kellogg’s Hopes Instagram-Famous Barnyard Animals Will Convince You to Try Its Faux Meat

The maker of Incogmeato tries a new tactic to tempt consumers with its new plant-based products

animal influencers
Kellogg's new Incogmeato line of plant-based meat products includes burgers, sausage and nuggets. Kellogg's

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From a certain viewpoint, it’s always a bit odd when food-based brand mascots are an anthropomorphic version of the very thing they’re encouraging people to consume. If Planters’ Mr. Peanut or StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna had any sense, for instance, they wouldn’t appear on national TV asking the public to eat them.

Both M&M’s and Cinnamon Toast Crunch have played with this idea in commercials, showing their animated candies and cereal squares committing acts of cannibalism. The results are both amusing and unsettling.

Continuing in the tradition of Chick-fil-A’s cow pleading with people to eat more chicken, Kellogg’s has partnered with some popular barnyard animals to persuade shoppers to give meat alternatives a chance.

Starting today, Prissy the pig (702,000 followers on Instagram), Buckley the cow (74,000 followers) and Sammi the chicken (42,000 followers) will begin a marketing push for the company’s new Incogmeato line of plant-based burgers, sausage and nuggets, which fall under Kellogg’s veggie brand MorningStar Farms. The three accounts will provide links to coupons for free Incogmeato products, all made with non-GMO soy.

Depending on the specific item, Incogmeato product packaging features an illustration of either a pig, cow or chicken disguised in a bowler hat, mustache and monocle. Prissy, Buckley and Sammi will dress in a similar fashion for the campaign.

“We’re challenging people to try plant-based and see how delicious Incogmeato really is,” said Sara Young, general manager of plant-based proteins at Kellogg’s, in a statement. “And who better to convince skeptics than animal influencers?”

According to Kellogg’s own research, while most Americans are curious about plant-based meat, they’re avoiding the category because they assume they won’t like the taste. And with in-store product sampling hampered by the pandemic, the CPG manufacturer has been exploring other ways to get its innovative products into the hands of potential customers. Last week, Incogmeato partnered with Postmates to deliver complimentary burgers to residents in Dallas and Denver. It also offered people nationwide a chance to win samples via a sweepstakes announced on Twitter.

In early August, Incogmeato began running its first TV commercial. The 15-second spot, which states its burger “looks, cooks and tastes like meat,” goads viewers to try it. The ad ends on the question, “Afraid you might like it?”

The number of imitation meat products has surged in recent years. Newcomers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods receive plenty of attention, but several major food conglomerates, from Nestle to Conagra Brands and Tyson Foods, have also made moves into the category. Even retail giant Ikea is introducing a plant-based version of its popular Swedish meatballs in late September.

Analysts at Barclays forecast meat alternatives could make up 10% of the $1.4 trillion global meat industry by 2029, up from 1% last year.

Kellogg’s declined to share Incogmeato sales numbers, as only its burger patties are currently available for purchase in grocery stores. The line’s bratwurst, sausage and nuggets are scheduled to arrive this fall.

In July, Kellogg’s reported $3.47 billion in net revenue for the quarter ending June 27, beating expectations, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The maker of Pringles, Pop-Tarts and Frosted Flakes now expects year-over-year organic sales to increase 5% during 2020, up from a previous estimate of 1% to 2%, due to sustained demand for shelf-stable packaged foods during the pandemic.

@hiebertpaul Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.