Selling the sizzle: Naming and marketing your plant-forward recipe

Plant-Forward Future


Noodle bowl ad

[Plant-Forward Future] You are ready with delicious plant-forward dishes but will your customers buy them? The answer is yes – if they are marketed correctly. This easy five-step guide will help your team create appeal for menu items by focusing on key taste, sensory, nostalgia, and geographic descriptors to increase consumers’ desire for them.

Step #1 Describe

Start by listing the core ingredients that define your menu item. 

Noodle bowl with peanut tofu: Fresh hand-pulled noodles, Thai tofu, and peanuts

Black bean veggie burger: house burger recipe, onions, Pop’s secret sauce, Idaho potato wedges

Step #2 Market

Next, get creative! Choose from this list of food descriptions (or come up with your own) to increase your customers’ intrigue and appetite.  

Try these food descriptions

  • Sensory names that describe the texture, taste or smell 
    • Juicy, crunchy, crispy, creamy, warming, crunchy, smooth, and sticky
  • Nostalgic names that trigger happy, wholesome associations
    • Grandma’s dumplings
  • Geographic names that create an association to a place
    • Farm-to-fork, Atlantic seaweed, Chicago-style pizza
  • Provenance descriptions – to be evocative
    • Wild-foraged blueberries, local strawberries, hand-pulled noodles
  • Cuisine-focused names
    • Thai, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian 
  • Brand names that create an association with a local brand
    • “Grand Teton Organics breakfast taters” or “Hodo Sichuan Tofu” (Oakland-based brand known to Bay Area consumers)
  • Descriptions that promote plenty/filling
    • Full, filling, satisfied, satiated
  • Descriptions that promote craveability
    • Mouthwatering, delicious, tasty

Try these menu descriptions

  • Mouth-watering options from savory, sweet or salty, there’s an option for you to satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling satisfied
  • These meals are amazingly tasty, nutritious, and packed with protein 
  • Good for you and good for the planet! 
  • Globally inspired and unique, with fresh options each week
  • From comfort food to adventurous options, we’ve got you covered
  • Locally sourced, seasonal dishes with all the best nutrients to get you on the road to recovery

Step #3 Envision

Take a photo of your dish or find an appropriate image to help customers see and imagine your meal.

Step #4 Sell

Choose where and how to promote your dish.  

Online and socially distant opportunities

  • “Grab ‘n go” takeout - messaging on the bags (stickers, hand-out) 
  • Online reward program associated with hospital IDs to track and reward points when ordering plant-forward dishes
  • Online menus and calendars
  • Mobile advertising on food ordering apps
  • Weekly emails
  • Facebook pages – by dining team or interest group
  • Digital displays
  • Special events – Earth Day, special meals, etc.

In-person opportunities

  • Provider-to-patient conversations
  • Word-of-mouth and face-to-face – from peers, customers, and food service staff
  • Cafeteria menus and calendars
  • White-board menus
  • Table tent cards with promotional and educational messages
  • Point of sale messages – reminders as customers make choices in serving line and audio (loudspeaker) announcements of daily specials
  • Special events – Earth Day, special meals, etc.
  • Handing out samples
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Giveaways and freebies

Step #5 Put it all together

Use this guide to create an advertisement for your meal and find a spot to place it

Noodle bowl marketing toolBlack bean veggie burger marketing tool


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