Plant-based pizza & pasta to the rescue

If the restaurant trade has learnt anything the hard way in the last couple of years, it’s that it’s vital to cater for a wider range of customers and find new ways to do it, if they’re to stay in the game.

by Claire Ashdown | Work | 15 November 2021

It’s a challenge that our plant-based clients, Upfield Professional, have long been geared up to address. They asked us to help demonstrate how their plant-based range of creams, cheese and spreads brands, Rama, Violife and Flora, can help restaurants reach more customers in the perennially popular pizza & pasta space.

The objectives

As a much-loved, and now global, choice, pizza & pasta aren’t necessarily a hard sell, but it’s a cuisine that’s steeped in tradition and heavily reliant on dairy ingredients. Our task was to introduce the high-performance Upfield Professional Plant range to buyers and operators in the pizza & pasta space who regularly purchase dairy for their restaurants, by demonstrating that they can reach more customers with great-tasting, plant-based Italian dishes, and with the ultimate goal of achieving an increase in market penetration of Italian chains.

The challenge

Whilst buyers and operators might see the economic benefits of going plant-based, not least for its longer shelf life and ability to cater to a wider range of dietary requirements, it’s chefs who may still need convincing in some cases. Preconceptions about lack of taste and performance of plant-based products, in comparison to dairy, have stuck in the kitchen. It was our job to demonstrate that chefs can create delicious food with Upfield’s plant-based products that not only look and taste great, but that can cater for everyone across the board, not just their vegan customers.

The solution: banish the veto vote

The so-called ‘veto vote’ has long been the thorn in the side for cafés and restaurants, not least during the challenges of the global pandemic.Vegans and people with different dietary requirements avoid restaurants that don’t cater for their culinary needs, and when they are dining as part of a group, their decision on where to eat holds sway, meaning that restaurants often miss out on group bookings due to the dietary requirements of just one individual.

The strategy

Our creative strategy idea focuses on how using Upfield Professional’s plant-based ingredients can help pizza & pasta restaurants mitigate the effects of the veto vote, and gain more customers to boot. The strategy needed to tackle the preconceptions about the taste and performance of plant-based ingredients head on, and highlight how much potential business is lost to the veto vote.

What’s the big idea?

The big idea we wanted to hit home was ultimately a simple one: bring back more customers.

For this campaign, directed primarily at buyers and operators, we created multi-use video assets to launch a tactical lead generation and sampling campaign.

The key message is delivered by a hero film, with 5×15” cut-down edits supporting the core product range, to demonstrate how to create staple dishes that look delicious, with the help of a talented Italian, Michelin-starred chef.

A toolkit of assets was also created for the Upfield sales teams to help them demonstrate the power of plant-based food for bringing more customers into pizza & pasta restaurants, or to order takeaway.

And if it’s good enough for a Michelin-starred chef, plant-based pizza & pasta might finally have the power to banish the veto vote once and for all.