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Quorn revamps Mo Farah ads to eschew ‘food for the few’ status

Quorn is scrapping the “sporty” tone of the Mo Farah ads it claimed labelled it a “food for the few” in favour of flouting how tasty its products are as it looks to win over people yet to try the brand.

Rather than rely on the Olympian’s sporting credentials to push its health values, the company is banking on his wider appeal to reach more people. Quorn’s previous ads were guilty of being “exclusive”, admitted marketing director Peter Harrison, positioning it “too much” like a fitness brand rather than an “everyday food”.

“We spent a lot of time telling people we’re a great alternative to meat [in the past],” he added. “That hadn’t shifted tasted perceptions of the brand. We don’t want to be apologetic anymore and have repositioned from a vegetarian food to a meat alternative food so that we can be more positive about who we are.”

It is this change that has pushed Quorn’s biggest campaign to date to trumpet the taste of its foods to “Healthy Actives” – its target audience being healthy eaters who exercise regularly but aren’t looking to lose weight. The ads eschew the “Farah in training” scenes from previous efforts, showing the athlete “on the road” in his “Mo Mobile” serving Quorn dishes at sporting events across the UK.

The nature of the ads reflect the importance of sampling in the food maker’s charge for higher penetration. While most shoppers that choose Quorn do so for an “everyday context”, claimed Harrison, spontaneous awareness for the brand is still lacking and consequently stalling its spread to new customers.

Quorn is calling on its newly struck ties to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to get its food out to people, using tournaments such as the Queen’s Club Championship to do sampling. It will also sponsor the club’s new Family Cup competition as an opportunity to convince parents to consider it as a meat alternative.

The LTA partnership precedes Quorn’s wider sponsorship charge with it believing sports can serve as a cost-effective way to promote its role in active lifestyles. Quorn’s push deeper into the world of sport mirrors the urgency it is creating around the need to tap into wider consumer growth.

Growth in consumers searching for healthier foods helped lift Quorn sales and volume growth by seven per cent and 10 per cent year-on-year in 2014, coinciding with a drop in demand for fresh meat. Quorn said that more non-vegetarians than ever before (75 per cent) are buying its products, buoyed by growth of the meat-free category at a macro-level.

Harrison said: “We don’t want to be a food for a few we want to be a food that everyone can enjoy. This year you’ll see a greater focus on snacking opportunities to extend our foods to more people.”

Key to these efforts over the next 12 months will be Quorn’s mix of upcoming innovations in the ready-to-eat space that will look to replicate meat products such as cocktail sausages and savoury eggs, alongside new packaging emphasising the foods’ values.

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