Sweet Earth Foods taps flexitarian star Ashley Tisdale to front ‘Veggie Come Back’ program
The frozen food brand’s ‘Veggie Come Back’ event and integrated brand campaign encourage consumers of all diets to try plant-based eating (again).
Actress and flexitarian Ashley Tisdale fronts Sweet Earth’s latest campaign / Credit: Sweet Earth
Ashley Tisdale is many things. She’s a former Disney Channel star, musician and entrepreneur of a personal care brand called Frenshe – but she is not vegan.
Such is the reason Sweet Earth Foods, a brand that specializes in premade plant-based food, enlisted Tisdale to front its 360-degree marketing campaign, ‘Veggie come back,’ ideated and developed with food marketing agency Edible. The campaign aims to entice people who have previously given up on plant-based eating to give it another try, starting with its effortless frozen meals.
‘Veggie come back’ first launched in late March with digital ads on food delivery app Instacart, two streaming TV commercials highlighting the new Pad Thai and ‘Mindful Chik’n’ and a partnership with Tisdale that entailed sharing branded content with her 15.8 million Instagram followers and 8.5 million TikTok followers. The campaign also includes new ads slated to go live later this month.
On April 26, Sweet Earth hosted its first in-person event in years by the same name in Hollywood, where Tisdale served as co-host. There, 50 exclusive guests sat at a table headed by Tisdale and Sweet Earth’s marketing leaders for a multicourse meal of the brand’s newest recipes. On the menu was a vegetarian ‘Protein Lovers [breakfast] Burrito,’ followed by an array of vegan items, including a ‘Veggie Lovers’ pizza and a ‘Mushroom Lovers’ pizza, pad thai, cauliflower mac and cheese and ‘Mindful Chik’n’ (which is available both in grocery stores as well as at Chronic Taco chain restaurants). Guests left the event with a branded water bottle, tote and apron, as well as Instacart coupons for Sweet Earth products.
The new menu items come after a recent Sweet Earth survey found that 34% of consumers quit plant-based eating due to the lifestyle being too difficult to maintain. That number continues to grow the newer consumers are to a plant-based diet. “We’ve spent the last couple of years talking to plant-based eaters, and the one thing we continue to hear is eating plant-based is hard – because the world is not plant-based,“ Seema Sundar, marketing director of Sweet Earth Foods, told The Drum at last week’s event. “So we at Sweet Earth are seeking to make that easier.“
Wednesday’s event was called ‘Veggie come back’ because many people leave plant-based eating for this reason. At the event, guests tried a number of different menu items, each of which are now available in the frozen aisle at most grocery stores, save for the Mushroom Lovers pizza, which will become nationally available this fall. The event was the brand’s first in-person activation since the onset of Covid.
Consumers also said they would stick to a plant-based diet if they had access to more intriguing and flavorful offerings. “We’ve been elevating our recipes over the last year based on consumer feedback – nutrition, protein, satiety, great mouth feel – but most of all, founded on our great flavors,” she added. “When I think about innovation and what’s to come, it’s with our bowls, pizza and Mindful Chik’n served at Chronic Tacos restaurants. It’s all about elevating that experience for plant-based eaters.”
A ‘flexitarian’ frontwoman
To announce the new recipes, Sweet Earth forged a partnership with Ashley Tisdale, a former Disney Channel Star and ‘flexitarian’ (defined as someone who eats a primarily vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat). At the event, Tisdale explained that she was once vegan, but due to health reasons, had to begin incorporating more animal products into her diet. Not to mention, Tisdale is a busy mom and businesswoman, who seeks convenient solutions at mealtime. It’s likely a story that many vegan-curious consumers can relate to.
“[Ashley is] a great partner and co-host ... because she’s authentic and transparent and also leads a balanced life,” said Sundar. “She knows what it’s like to struggle and come back [into plant-based eating]... That’s where we come in. We offer frozen foods that takes five minutes in the microwave.”
Tisdale will continue to front branded content for Sweet Earth this month, like the below ad that is slated to go live across paid social on May 15.
As far as the future goes, Sweet Earth aims to continue its ongoing partnership with Edible to boost its business and increase accessibility to flavorful and exciting plant-based options for consumers. “Plant-based eating is hard,“ Sundar said. “I think we have a way to make it easier.“