As we all become increasingly aware of our own carbon footprint, as well as begin to hold bigger corporations accountable for theirs, a lot of brands are taking sustainability more seriously than they have ever before. And with that, brands that have upheld sustainability since their very conception are thriving from the increased awareness. According to the Guardian, the exact number of people that have taken up veganism is unclear, but surveys show rapid growth, with one of them suggesting that there had been as much as a 40% increase in veganism. Events such as ‘Veganuary’ where we all give vegan food a good go also contribute to the collective consciousness, and some that find it harder than others to give up cheese, opt out for the milder version of eating vegan food only one day of the week (still a huge difference in a personal lifestyle). With these trends, vegan alternatives have become almost the norm in some countries and are becoming increasingly more accessible in others. We all remember a time when vegan cheese was somewhat difficult to even find, whereas now most of our favourite chains and supermarkets offer more than one vegan option.
This is where brands like Peas of Heaven exceed in what they have always done best - delivering vegan options to all foodies. In their new campaign, created by Forsman & Bodenfors, Peas of Heaven offer their customers the unique opportunity to grow their own sausages at home! Sounds crazy, but it’s happening. What customers would do is purchase their pea seeds, plant them at home, send the peas to Peas of Heaven and in a few days receive their home grown sausages. Although admittedly not the most efficient way to get your hands on a vegan sausage, it proves to be way more fun than just buying one from the supermarket. The campaign also aims to educate consumers on how vegan food is produced and show them that there is really no rocket science behind making it, as well as to help them feel more connected to what they consume.
LBB’s Zoe Antonov spoke to Forsman & Bodernfors’ art directors Johanna Landberg and Julia Holtback, and creative director at Peas of Heaven, Gustav Johansson, about how the idea came about and what is in store for the category in the future.
LBB> What was the brief for this campaign and what were the initial conversations surrounding it?
Julia> The campaign is part of the launch of the communication concept ‘Your favourite foods are now plant-based’. To re-define comfort food such as burgers and hotdogs as something made out of plants, not meat.
LBB> Growing your own sausage sounds like a wild idea! How did you come up with it and how long did it take to develop the method?
Johanna> It started with an insight: since the sausages are made of peas, and peas grow on fields, you can pretty much say that sausages grow on fields. So why not plant and grow your own? The method is quite simple, you just grow your peas, send them to Peas of Heaven, and then they’ll use your peas to produce sausages. So we didn’t have to develop any new methods or production setups.
LBB> Walk us through the process - how does one grow a sausage, how long does it take and how efficient is the method?
Julia> Get the kit from Peas of Heaven, plant the seeds. Wait for around 50 days, and remember to water the plant. Then, send the peas in the included zip bag to Peas of Heaven, and in a few days, you’ll get your sausage back. It’s far from the most efficient method to get a hotdog, maybe the least efficient way ever. This is more about having fun and getting a better understanding and respect for the process behind plant-based food.
LBB> Do you believe that this will take off and other brands will perhaps take on board a similar approach and why?
Johanna> There has already been a lot of interest around this so we think that it has a lot of potential. And hopefully, it can inspire other brands to find creative ways to make more people interested in what we eat and where the food comes from.
LBB> Do you think creative media should be more involved in spreading awareness about veganism and do you think it has been in recent years?
Julia> Yes, but we think that the responsibility is more on the brands than the media. If the brands focus on creativity and making things that are really interesting, awareness and media spread will follow.
LBB> What are the main goals of the product, especially when it comes to the discourse around veganism?
Gustav> The ‘Grow Your Own Sausage’ kit allows us to talk about plant-based food in a new way and really puts the spotlight on one of the main ingredients we use, protein from peas. It’s a great way of involving the consumer in the production process and, actually, educating them on what goes into making these products. As a product in and of itself, we really think of the kit as a pilot project at this stage. But we’re already seeing lots of interest from consumers so we might expand the program in the coming months.
LBB> What do you expect to see in the future when it comes to these kinds of products and how integrated do you expect them to be in people's daily lives?
Gustav> Plant-based products overall will become as common as meat products are now. That means they will become a natural part of most people’s lives in one way or another. If we can involve people more and help them understand the process of making food, the idea that you can actually be a part of producing food might gain some traction in the future as well – plant-based food on demand!
LBB> What has the reaction from the audiences been so far?
Gustav> We’ve seen a lot of positive feedback. Most people think of it as a fun initiative, but we’re also seeing a lot of curiosity from consumers who are asking questions about how the whole thing works. They want to know more about how plant-based sausages are actually made!
LBB> Do you plan to expand this project beyond Sweden in the future, if so, where do you expect it to perform best?
Gustav> Peas of Heaven is expanding rapidly as a brand right now. The Grow Your Own initiative is open to customers in all Nordic countries. Depending on the outcome, we might expand the project to customers in all of Europe. It’s mainly a logistical question at this point. We don’t want to ship the seeds too far for obvious reasons, so we’d need a different setup.
LBB> What do you wish to see in the development of plant-based products in the future?
Gustav> At this point, it’s possible to make a plant-based version of almost any meat product. The future will be about making these products accessible to a wider audience. That means taste, texture, and the overall experience of them have to be on par with meat or better. That’s what we’re going for with everything we’re doing right now.
LBB> Any final thoughts?
Gustav> Just a note that, as a brand, we truly believe in these integrated ideas that become products in and of themselves. We’re launching two more limited edition products this year with the purpose of starting conversations and pushing the category in new ways. These projects become more than just PR, more than just ads. Since they’re actual products, there’s credibility baked-in. And that’s pretty powerful.