Installing sustainable change by tapping into consumer habits, an interview with LIVEKINDLY

We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat eaters,” says Sir David Attenborough in his most recent Netflix documentary, ‘A Life On Our Planet’. He urges people to go vegetarian and cut back on meat eating, to save species from extinction.

Consumers increasingly acknowledge that their eating habits have an influence on the environment, and the number of people that say they are cutting down on meat is growing. This evolution is also supported by the growth of the meatless industry, with products from companies like LIVEKINDLY. This collective of plant-based brands has grown into one of the largest plant-based food companies.

In this interview, Joeri Van den Bergh connects with Kees Kruythoff, chairman & CEO at LIVEKINDLY, to talk about the challenge of making people switch to a plant-based lifestyle.


Q: Magali Delmas, author of ‘The Green Bundle: Pairing the Market with the Planet’, says brands need to work on creating a ‘green bundle’. By this, she means that a brand’s offering needs to go beyond being ‘better for the environment’; it should also be linked to advantages that appeal to consumers’ personal values. How do you address this at LIVEKINDLY?

“To drive change, there indeed needs to be a benefit for the individual. People care about animal welfare and doing better for the environment, but those external drivers will not lead to behavioral change, at least not on a mass scale. And we need the critical mass to disrupt and truly change the global food system. In fact, the real benefit is that people intuitively know eating good-quality proteins based on plants is better for their health. We also know consumers do not want to compromise, but as the technology is evolving, I’m convinced compromising on taste and/or nutritional value is no longer needed. And ultimately – with scalability – plant-based will also become more affordable. In the past, we had the digital transformation; today, we are facing the protein transformation. Affordable, good-quality proteins without compromise are the future.”


Q: Making people switch to plant-based meat seems a big challenge, as meat consumption is deeply ingrained in many people’s habits. How do you start changing that?

“Humans are very habitual, and we know that people in Western Europe only use 10 to 15 different recipes in a year. So, to change habits, we need to go back to those existing recipes and see what we can do. If we can only change one ingredient from animal- to plant-based, it makes a significant difference. Think for example about replacing the meat in a spaghetti bolognaise by our plant-based Oumpf! mince. The same goes for the Chinese market, where we provide plant-based dumplings to adapt to local traditions. We are convinced that we need to combine global scale and expertise with local intimacy. We go into the local markets to understand what people’s habits, diets and favorite dishes are. It’s about becoming part of people’s everyday life to install change. Next to that, we share ideas and inspiration to accelerate the move towards a plant-based lifestyle on, our media platform.”


Q: Based on our proprietary research, we know NextGen consumers are significantly more vegetarian or vegan in comparison to the older population. Do you notice this impact of the younger generations?

“Yes, even in my own family, with my daughter living a vegan lifestyle since she was 11! Today, especially in the Western world, we have a very different relationship with our children. There is much more mutual learning. You often see that children – especially daughters – come home and say to their parents: “I’m not going to eat animals anymore”. And then the parents face this challenge: “What does that mean for the rest of the family?” They might also have a son that says: “But I don’t like that and…”. I think documentaries like ‘The Game Changers’ are a true game changer for this generation. This movie promotes a plant-based diet by interviewing experts, showcasing success stories of vegan athletes, and sharing results from scientific studies. It challenges current paradigms such as ‘Real men eat meat’, and highlights that the strongest animals in the world also have a plant-based diet. NextGen is definitely an important target market for us, and we apply the philosophy here as well: first you change people’s mind, then their habits, and then you make it repetitive.

Also, when moving into new markets, we adopt a NextGen perspective. In China, for example, we know Gen Z is facing a much more diverse food supply than previous generations. We could label them ‘the generation of choice’, mixing traditional food with a Western lifestyle. What we do is focus on the traditional lifestyle, but upgrade it for the next generations. Like for example our plant-based dumplings; according to us that’s more impactful than pushing plant-based American food – like burgers – into this market. This is how we stay relevant to NextGen.“

In summary, Kees is convinced the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle extend beyond ‘doing good for the environment’, in line with the ‘Green Bundle’ thinking. LIVEKINDLY support people in switching to plant-based products, by tapping into existing habits and sharing additional inspiration via their media platform. And as NextGen is more inclined to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, Kees considers this to be an important target market.


Hungry for more? Stay tuned as we will release more ‘Conscious Consumption’ interviews in the coming weeks!

Conscious Consumption

Conscious Consumption

Sustainability is a key concern amongst consumers, and this has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. This bookzine highlights some of the key barriers amongst consumers as well as their expectations towards brands, through proprietary research, expert interviews with sustainability executives from several industries, and brand illustrations.

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