VegFund recently carried out a five-year retrospective study of our three main grant programs — Food Sampling, Film Screenings, and Pay-Per-View video events. We’re sharing some of our findings with you in a series of blogs on tips for effective activism.
In this installment, we present helpful tips for a successful free vegan food-sampling event. We looked at feedback from our past grantees, who offered excellent information on what worked best for them when engaging people about vegan food choices. The majority of our grantees opt to include food sampling in their activities, and they report enthusiastic responses from non-vegans:
“Many of them never before ate vegan food, and all of them loved it.”
“People commented how great the taste and texture of the strips were and couldn’t believe the samples were vegan….”
Who can resist a chocolate cupcake? Food, especially when it’s free and appealing to the eye, never fails to draw people in. And, vegan food is always a brilliant conversation starter! From college events and green festivals to conferences and healthy lifestyle events, food sampling proves to be popular with members of the public.
In the past five years, VegFund-supported activists have reached 351,821 visitors and handed out 405,845 food samples at food-sampling-funded events alone!
The 5 most popular vegan foods distributed by activists at food-sampling events are:
1. Mock meat products: Tofurky sausages and slices, Gardein Roast, jerky style
2. “Cheese” products: Daiya, “cream” styles
3. Plant milks: Almond, soy, chocolate-flavored
5 Top Tips!
1. Good-quality mock products, such as meats and cheeses, are most influential. These foods show people that vegans can eat convenience foods that taste good and are easy to find in local grocery stores.
2. Offer literature to people when they’re sampling vegan food so that they have a take-away message — and one that could possibly get passed along. Recipe brochures always prove popular. If people aren’t picking up your informational literature, consider slotting a few of these leaflets into recipe brochures. Check out our blog Selecting Effective Outreach Materials — a helpful reference when choosing the literature to distribute at your event.
3. Social media is a highly effective promotional tool for food-sampling events. Word-of-mouth and encouraging people to bring friends and family can really boost attendance.
4. Themed food-sampling events are popular; for example, holiday themes such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.
5. Focus on distributing a few types of tasty and appealing products rather than a large number of mediocre products. This presentation will be less overwhelming to visitors and more influential when encouraging them to make changes.
“100s of Tofurky samples, Compassionate Choices and coupons were distributed to a receptive crowd. People raved over the Tofurky and asked where they could purchase it. Several people had remarked that they had seen it in the stores and were interested to try it. Many people thanked us for being there!” – Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, Holiday Food Sampling Event
Depending on your audience and venue, there are some especially effective ways to engage people with your message. As you can see here, activists are using vegan food sampling as a tool to urge people to consider making changes to their dietary habits, and they’re receiving positive — even enthusiastic — responses!
Coming next: Part 3 of this series on tips for getting the most out of your film-screening events.