The Rise of Plant-based Dairy
From almond, soy, macadamia to coconut, plant-based dairy is one of the most developed plant-based food categories globally. Before, plant-based milk can only be found in aseptic cartons in non-refrigerated sections or sold as milk alternatives in a handful of coffee shops, while plant-based yogurts, cheese and creams are rare. Recent years, however, see more shelf space dedicated to plant-based dairy as these products start gaining awareness and favor among consumers.
And there are many reasons for this rapid growth.
First, there is a rise in flexitarians and vegans, where key motivators range from health reasons, ethical and environmental causes to personal choices. These growing consumer profiles are one of the biggest drivers of plant-based diets and are the reason why plant-based dairy brands are responding with a broad offer.
The second is due to the increasing number of people who are lactose intolerant. In fact, a recent study by DSM has found that there are likely to be at least forty times more people suffering from lactose intolerance in an Asian country than in its Western counterparts, which explains the growth in plant-based dairy globally, beyond the West.
Finally, with deeper innovations and discoveries in plant-based ingredients, dairy companies including traditional incumbents continue to pursue plant-based dairy creations to keep up with the growing consumer demands and changing preferences. With an abundance of unique, innovative plant-based dairy products on shelves, the market’s offer is enriched to everyone’s benefit.
A Deeper Look at the Brand Name Innovations by Plant-based Dairy Brands
While the category boom is fueled by growing market demands and innovations, the rise in sales is also substantially attributed to clever branding and marketing by plant-based dairy brands. Here we look closely at how some plant-based dairy brands have adopted innovative brand naming strategies that clearly communicate their purpose and intricately draw certain sets of associations among consumers.
1. Building A Community Gathering Vision for Plant-based Dairy Lovers
Brands that adopt this naming strategy aim to inspire and bring together their most rooted fans through a shared belief. The brand names candidly appeal to target consumer profiles by calling out individuals who have similar tastes, preferences and values to come together and be part of their plant-based vision and family. This not only evokes a sense of belonging but can also create strong, positive feelings and associations that these consumers are part of a “cooler”, “modern” or an “exclusive” club.
The Coconut Cult
The origin of this plant-based dairy brand name “The Coconut Cult” was in reference to an actual cult of mostly German followers that had extreme coco-mono diets that resulted in health complications and even deaths.
Despite its seemingly dark origins, the brand wanted to use its name as a way to invite as many coconut and plant-based lovers as possible to get hooked on their probiotic goodness and join its healthful cult, but not without a careful reminder of food extremism. After all, this coconut-based yogurt brand has received a cult-like following from the community, so its brand name has definitely proven worthy of all the hype.
The brand also smartly uses an alliteration technique for its name, whereby the same letter “C” is used continuously for both “Coconut” and “Cult”, effectively creating a literary rhythm that is more striking and memorable to consumers.
As the name suggests, Plant-Based Crew represents its founding team and a pool of like-minded consumers who are aspiring to live a more balanced and sustainable lifestyle.
By having the word “crew” as part of its name, the brand adopts a welcoming and inviting tone to anyone who is open to joining their crew and mission of making the world a better and greener place, one meal at a time.
Unlike shelved, pre-packaged plant-based dairy brands, Numilk takes the concept of freshness to an entirely whole new level. The brand believes that freshness can come with convenience and there is simply no need to sacrifice one for the other.
By creating the easiest, most convenient plant-based milk maker on the planet, it has inspired and brought together many plant-based dairy lovers together to enjoy fresh, delicious and nutritious plant-based milk churned on demand, be it in the comfort of their homes or through their neighborhood grocery stores and coffee shops.
The name, “Numilk” which is pronounced as “new milk”, therefore not only highlights the brand’s innovative technologies and recipes but also represents a new era, community and culture of enjoying real, fresh plant-based milk with ease.
Nut Culture is a plant-based creamery that handcrafts artisanal cheese and butter with organic and natural nuts. The brand believes that plant-based dairy can be absolutely delicious, indulgent and exciting without compromising on ingredients.
As such, the name “Nut Culture” is representative of the brand’s aspirations of creating a culture of indulging in plant-based goodness with its tasteful and healthy plant-based dairy products. The name can also potentially serve as a double read, enabling the brand to promote a culture for avid fans to feel absolutely nut(s) about plant-based dairy.
2. Assuring that Plant-based is Good in Many Aspects, or Even Better
Plant-based diets face a fair share of skepticism because some people wonder if they are truly healthier, greener, more ethical or even sustainable in the long run. Having a brand name that directly addresses these concerns is one strategy that some plant-based dairy brands have adopted to help consumers better understand their mission and benefits.
BETTER THAN MILK
As a plant-based dairy brand, Better Than Milk believes that what people consume should not only taste good but should also be respectful to the planet and their bodies.
The brand sources organic ingredients and materials from responsibly managed forests, local farmers and renewable sources, and prides its creamy, delicious plant-based dairy beverages. Because their products are tasty, healthy, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly, the brand proudly boasts that they are truly better than traditional milk products and players, thereby naming themselves “Better Than Milk”.
As part of Violife’s plant-based product portfolio, “Just Like” is a naming descriptor that has been adopted for its vegan cheese products.
The term “just like” is coined to assure consumers who have yet to try plant-based cheese that they are equally as tasty, creamy and stretchy as the traditional cheese that they are used to. It also serves as a constant invitation to consumers to give its plant-based cheese products a try, because they just have to try it to believe that it’s exactly just like cheese!
GOOD MYLK CO.
Good Mylk Co. emphasizes the goodness of the brand and its values. The “Good” in its brand name is a direct representation of Good People, who are determined to create a plant-based milk that is unlike those nutritious store-bought milk that is actually made of artificial ingredients and preservatives, as well as Good Milk that is Good for Body, Tastebuds, Lifestyle and the Planet.
True to its brand name, Good Mylk Co. ensures that its products are made from organic ingredients, 100% real food, with zero processed sugar, and have expanded beyond milk to other plant-based coffee and activated creamer products.
So Delicious has been pushing innovations in the plant-based category for over 30 years, bringing dairy-free deliciousness that do right by people and the planet.
Through its brand name, “So Delicious” is a proud calling and a constant reminder to consumers that its plant-based dairy products are extremely smooth, flavorful, and just so delicious!
3. Appeal by Simply feeling Good and Having Fun
Culturally, plant-based diets have taken appeal to not just the serious health-conscious, socially and environmentally aware, but also the younger, bolder and more vocal generations. In order to market to these consumers, some brands are taking more a playful, creative and fun approach with its brand name – extending and communicating its usage through other important expressions of the brand.
The brand name “Mooala” is a fun and playful combination of “moo” and “koala”, and it represents the brand’s adorable koala character that wears a skin with spots like a cow.
The brand smartly weaves a story on Mooala, introducing its character as one that selects healthy nuts, seeds and fruits from its favorite trees to blend them into the most delicious, organic plant-based milk.
With Mooala as the brand name, it cleverly reminds consumers of this fun and playful character and the story behind it. Moreover, as the brand name “Mooala” is also combined with acoustic euphony, its harmonious and fluid pronunciation triggers pleasant emotions and joy.
Adopting a portmanteau, Oatsome cleverly combines “oat” and “awesome” to create a new word for its name, which also holds a special meaning that effectively describes the brand’s plant-based dairy products as awesomely and wholesomely delicious.
As such, “Oatsome” does not just serve as the brand name, it also connotes positive associations when used as a descriptor for the brand’s marketing communications. “Each day starts with an oatsome latte”, “… with a cool glass of oatsome milk” or “Have an oatsome day!” – the creative and fun expressions derived from the brand name are endless!
“MALK” was inspired by the term “Milk Alternative”. While the original intent of the brand name was to remove any confusion from regular milk, the term “malk” soon became a fun verbal expression that goes well with the different plant-based varieties carried by the brand.
As such, instead of having regular “Almond Milk”, or “Oat Milk” labels like other plant-based dairy brands, MALK’s products are coined as “Almond Malk” or “Oat Malk” respectively, making them distinct yet playful as “malk” is a word that just perfectly rolls off the tongue.
HAPPY HAPPY FOODS
As the name suggests, Happy Happy Foods is grounded on happiness; it is on a mission to make plant-based tastier, more fun and more mainstream, so that consumers from all over the world can become happier with their food choices and at the same time, make it happier for the environment.
Right from the naming front, Happy Happy Foods promotes this positive, fun and joyful feeling of happiness. The technical use of an anaphora, which in this case, is the repetition of the word “happy” in its name, lends an even greater emphasis around the feeling of happiness.
It also takes advantage of the term “happy happy” from its brand name to explore different expressions when communicating to consumers – #EatDrinkHappyHappy, Happy Happy just for you, Find Happy Happy, making consumers feel good just by choosing Happy Happy!
4. Transporting Consumers to A New Place and Exploring How Consumers Feel
Lastly, because triggering lifestyle in the category is a solid way to anchor in the consumer life, some plant-based dairy brands take the opportunity to represent an unprecedented world and culture of plant-based goodness or highlight the fresh and innovative new experiences that are defined and opened up by the brand through its name.
“Always look on the Oatside of Life!”, “Be an #Oatsider, Join the Community!” – these are some of the key messages that Oatside stayed true to since its founding days.
The brand name “Oatside” suggests the bright side of life told in all its unfiltered, modern glory, meaningfully transporting consumers to a new space and way of life that uplifts spirits and delivers goodness through plant-based dairy.
Coupled with its bright, optimistic and cool brand characters, the brand name serves as a constant callout to any and every adult out there to join the Oatside of life, the best side of life.
The name “kite hill” is strongly inspired by blue sky thinking, where the brand believes in its ability to create new, unique plant-based favorites that are challenging for others.
“Kite hill” is therefore reflective of the brand’s aspirations of soaring new heights by adopting an artisan approach to its plant-based dairy creations, as well as its dedication to elevating consumers’ expectations of how amazing plant-based eating can be.
The name also perfectly illustrates the denotation of a new lifestyle and universe opened to consumers, using the technique of triggering lighthearted and joyful emotions through memory and imagination.
Lavva prides itself as an “alternative of the alternatives” for creating a texture so thick and creamy unlike other plant-based dairy yogurts, yet still tastes as rich as any dairy product through its unique star ingredient, the Pili nut.
The name “Lavva” therefore represents the unprecedented ultra-creamy texture of the brand’s plant-based yogurt, as well as the overflowing goodness of dairy-free, probiotic nutrition brought by its innovative and unique formula.
An interesting observation of the name is the addition of an extra letter “v” within instead of simply going for the descriptive term “lava”. This is a good technique that not only improves the trademark ability of the name because it is an intentionally formed word, but it also enables the brand to communicate the original meaning as intended.
As a brand, Minor Figures does not see itself as other plant-based dairy brands that are trying to replicate milk or fit with existing milk category conventions. Instead, they see themselves as a differentiated player that cares more about contributing to a better cup of coffee than emerging as another plant-based milk brand that serves a variety of reasons.
Given its challenger brand aspirations, the name “Minor Figures” is also a direct rejection of society’s obsessed culture of aspiration and success. “Minor Figures” is a name that represents everyday people, including “non-heroes” who are living simple, humble and happy lives rather than those who are overly portrayed as “successful”. Championing all walks of life and not just those who “rise and grind”, resonates very strongly with everyday consumers, allowing them to experience and build a sense of solidarity at a brand level.
As the name suggests, Rebel Kitchen is a brand birthed by Rebels – a team of like-minded individuals who are here to challenge the standards in the food and drink industry and open up a new future that changes the world’s approach to health and the environment.
Rebel Kitchen prides itself in revolutionizing dairy-free with sustainable, healthy, plant-based dairy that tastes mind-blowingly good. After all, its plant-based milk has been praised to taste as delicious, as silky, and creamy as traditional milk.
Having the Right Brand Name Has Proven Essential for these Plant-based Dairy Brands
Brand naming is an important aspect and a key first touchpoint of the brand. It is vital for brands to adopt a name that is distinctive, memorable and resonates with target audiences because the name tends to make the first and foremost impression of the brand.
These plant-based dairy brands have adopted different naming strategies that help them emphasize certain selected unique aspects of their brand, be it their superior product qualities, meaningful purpose and values, or simply targeted at amplifying their brand character and personality. Depending on the role and purpose that the brand name bears, having the right name will be essential in forming lasting impressions and benefit long-term brand building.