This honesty helps customers understand where a concept stands on sustainability, Mintz says. “Being honest with customers goes a long way toward building trust,” she adds.
“We sell a lot more meat than we do vegetarian options,” Chipotle’s Arnold says, adding that this makes marketing meat very important to the brand’s identity, and that keeping consumers informed is a top priority. “We have a compelling meat story. … It is where our quest for sustainability began.”
Of course, while sustainability is a trendy, important part of marketing campaigns, it is not the only thing customers want to hear about. It’s key for brands to also appeal to diners who want quality meat at a reasonable price, Mintz says.
With the increasing costs of beef and other expenses, a sustainable meat product could come at a much higher price for consumers, which can be a turnoff the value conscious, she says. It’s up to the brand to convince customers that its product is worth the extra cost.
As sustainability continues to be emphasized in the industry, Mintz says, even value-conscious consumers will still ask questions about where the meat is sourced, and restaurants should have an answer.
“You have to include meat in your marketing messages. Otherwise, you can’t have an authentic conversation,” she says.