Plant-based diets are becoming more popular as the connection between meat consumption and climate change becomes clear.
Alpha Foods, a plant-based food company launched in 2015, has picked Mischief @ No Fixed Address as its creative AOR to help it redefine the category as consumer eating habits change. The companies declined to share the size of the account.
Mischief will create a 360-degree brand campaign and define Alpha’s strategic positioning through 2021. The partnership will also include redesigning the look and feel of Alpha Foods’ packaging.
Alpha wants its brand to redefine meatless diets for the casually curious — people who want to reduce their meat consumption, but don’t want to go full-on vegan or vegetarian. Alpha is sold in major supermarkets including Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Albertsons/Safeway and Wegmans, and includes a variety of meatless options in consumer-favorite forms, from nuggets, to burritos to burgers and pizza.
“The vision behind all of our products is to provide meatless options that are delicious and convenient,” said Cole Orobetz, cofounder and CEO of Alpha Foods. “It’s geared toward people who don’t want to make huge lifestyle changes, but want to feel better about their food choices.”
Appealing to the masses is part of Alpha’s DNA. The brand began selling at Walmart in 2017, and aims to offer options that are easy to consume on the go. Orobetz had never tried plant-based meat until he was snowed in during a blizzard in Calgary, Canada, and all he had in his freezer was a vegan bagel dog Alpha's co-founder and CIO Loren Wallis had given him once to try.
“It hit my meat-eater palette requirements, and it was easy to make.” he said. “If that could happen to me, there could be hundreds of millions of people out there like me.”
Orobetz is right: The plant-based food category is now $5 billion and growing in popularity during COVID-19, as supply chains were disrupted and people were introduced to meatless products for the first time. Alpha foods has raised $40 million to date from investors.
But one challenge for Mischief will be to set Alpha apart from well-funded competitors in the category, including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.
“What I loved about this brand is it’s not a cult or lifestyle thing,” said Greg Hahn, CCO at Mischief. “It’s making meatless an option for people who never thought it was their option. That’s the opportunity: How do we make it more accessible, craveable and desirable for more people?”
Orobetz said the brand is already differentiated because while other companies focus on burgers, Alpha has a variety of products consumers can relate to, including “things that can be ready in 90 seconds, or ingredients that can be used in a stir fry or taco night.”
While Alpha has run marketing campaigns in the past, its relationship with Mischief is the first time it’s looking to build out a true brand story and strategy. The pair hope to have new work in the market in early 2021.
“They are a young, start-up company out to make a difference, and so are we,” Hahn said. “We’re in it to prove and build something.”