Just Egg hatches a plan for its Canadian launch

The plant-based company is utilizing on-site and retailer media to drive trial among customers looking for easy, better-for-you options.

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Food startup Eat Just is trying to solve the chicken and egg problem.

Not which came first, but that there are egg-like products that don’t come from chickens, but from plants.

The company’s “Folded” product – resembling a scrambled egg patty or omelette – will be competing against other frozen breakfast offerings in the freezer section of 1,000 stores, including select Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys, Whole Foods and independent grocers.

Beginning in April, when the store rollout is expected to be complete, Just Egg will launch a multiplatform outreach to Canadians to including shopper marketing, and also a comprehensive paid influencer program, social media advertising, and  YouTube/digital media advertising to push the mung bean-based protect.

Matt Riley, SVP of global partnerships for the California-based Eat Just, tells strategy that there’s been such pent-up demand in the Canadian market, with hundreds of consumer outreaches, that everybody across retail channels really wanted the product as soon as it was possible to ship, helping them respond to a broader better-for-you, better-for-the-planet mindset. And according to Riley, the brand is also pursuing the food service channel aggressively and will be on menu in establishments soon.

The demand – which also comes from increased interest in frozen foods and prepared meals – is also why it is launching with Folded in Canada first, instead of pourable liquid version of Just Egg used for scrabbles and omelettes, which it is better known for in the U.S. The pourable version, however, is expected to clear its final regulatory approvals within the next two to three months, after which it will be merchandised in coolers alongside eggs in Canada.

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shopper-image-just-eggKaren Trice, senior shopper marketing manager for Eat Just, says that the brand is employing similar tactics to ones that have resonated in the U.S., using a mix of broad awareness and tactical approaches including shopper marketing efforts such as in-aisle shelf blades, floor talkers and cart signs, to drive consideration and conversion.

The shopper creative, designed in-house, are jet black with a pop of yellow from the product.

“When you think about how clean our packaging is and how it really pops off the shelf, we wanted to bring that same design aesthetic to our POS, as it is disruptive, so that it does kinda stop people and want to stop and read and find out what’s different about the product,” says Trice.

According to Trice, it’s not just the uniqueness of the colour scheme, but also the simplicity of the “made from plants” and “a better egg” messaging, along visuals that show how the product actually scrambles with the texture of a real egg, that helps reduce barriers to trial.

The brand is hoping to be able to begin other activations in May and throughout the summer, including retailer-specific opportunities such as ad features with Sobeys and Loblaw, onsite search and display at Walmart and, to drive mass awareness, discounter cash back site Checkout 51 coupon app offers.

The brand, Trice says, is also currently exploring more digital couponing partners as it activates throughout the year, part of an effort to draw broadly across different targets.

“Nothing against vegan products, but we consider ourselves delicious, better-for-you products that are made from plants. We want to appeal to everyone and to improve the food system,” Riley says, adding that the product “only works if it works for everyone.”

That means being included among mainstream categories and not isolated in a speciality area of the store. Historically, “better for you” products have faced challenges with consumers when it comes to price, placement and availability for better-for-you, which is why the company emphasizes being merchandised next to mainstream categories, Riley explains, adding that a significant percentage of its customers still buy shelved eggs and traditional proteins.

According to Riley, both the frozen and plant-based categories have seen “tremendous growth in the retail channel over the last 12 months,” something Just Egg has seen as well and expects to continue, given that Just Egg is as versatile as traditional eggs and can work across any day set, beyond simply breakfast.

Harbinger is handling the PR.