Last week, Maple Leaf Foods announced a new line of products.
According to their press release, "Maple Leaf 50/50™ fusion protein products are made with 50% premium meat and 50% plant-based and natural ingredients to deliver the taste, satisfaction, and sensory experience of traditional meat products."
The release goes on to rationalize the introduction of this line by stating, "Interest in plant-based protein is growing, with 55% of Canadians thinking about reducing their meat consumption".
Okay, so Canadians still want to eat meat, but don't want to eat as much of it. According to Maple Leaf, the solution is 50/50™.
That's a compromise.
And that's the problem.
More than a decade ago, author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek wrote, "compromise is when everybody settles and no one gets what they want."
Think about a time when you and your partner were trying to decide what movie to watch. Perhaps you really wanted to see the latest romantic comedy, and your partner really wanted to see the latest action blockbuster. So maybe you decided to "compromise"... and ended up watching a film that neither of you were particularly excited about. Nobody lost... but nobody won either.
You should never make a consumer feel like they're compromising by choosing you.
You want them to feel fantastic about choosing you, not think, "well, it's not as bad as it could have been, I guess."
Ask yourself: who's going to LOVE 50-50?
Not vegans; it still has 50% animal products in it, so they'll never buy it.
Not carnivores: if they wanted to reduce their meat consumption, they'd be more likely to either reduce the quantity or frequency of meat they consume... not choose a meat-plant hybrid.
Maple Leaf has introduced a "middle of the road" product, and that's almost never a good idea.
Instead, they could have developed, introduced, and heavily promoted a great-tasting 100% plant-protein product to directly compete with their core animal-protein line. Target it to consumers who can't or won't eat meat, and make it taste so great that it tempts meat-eaters to give it a try. They would be serving two distinct audiences with two distinct product lines, but they would be serving them well.
Instead, they developed a compromise.
When it comes to your products and your customers?
P.S. H/t to my friend Craig Lund for alerting me about this launch via LinkedIn.