After reading an article on Twitter about Hellmann's rebranding one of its most popular products as ‘Vegetarian,’ I am now left somewhat perplexed. The rebranding seems fairly reasonable considering the decision to go ‘meat-free’ is no longer a niche idea, with many people in fact now trying out this style of diet for the health-related benefits as well as the environmental.
However, the reason I, and no doubt many other sceptical readers remain confused about this rebranding is about the product itself. Why we ask ourselves, has Hellmann's decided to rebrand its completely meat-free classic mayonnaise as ‘vegetarian’?
I found myself clicking on the Twitter post and reading the entire article, intrigued to find out a justification. I didn’t have to read very far to get the basis of their justification (according to the writer), which clearly features in the title of the article: ‘Hellmann's aims to woo flexitarians by branding its mayo as veggie.’
As much as I appreciate the attempt to target the particular group of people known as ‘Flexitarians’- who are neither fully vegetarian, yet neither are they meat lovers, but remain a group of happy mediums, looking to reduce their meat intake – I remain unconvinced.
The question still poses, why bother labelling a product that is meat-free anyway? Are consumers these days really that incapable of telling the difference between a product that contains meat and one which doesn’t?
Taking this from a slightly different angle, the trademarked ‘V’ symbol added to its labels might be a clever marketing ploy by Hellmann's, in an attempt to gain a win in the public’s eye.
However, despite Hellmann's potential attempt to promote vegetarianism through the extremity of relabelling its products, the question is: should we all be flexitarians? In the face of this costly and seemingly pointless rebranding, I feel this does, in fact, bring an interesting point to light.
As a population, if we are concerned with the increasing threat of global warming, with having clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, maybe we should relook at our meat intake. With intensive meat production being a significant contributor towards these issues, perhaps we should all consider consuming less meat-based products (and potentially more Hellmann's Mayonnaise)?
Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at Peterborough Environment City Trust.