Loma Linda/ CASE STUDY
Introduce the world’s oldest vegetarian brand to the modern world
When Atlantic Natural Foods purchased the Loma Linda brand in 2013, the company was thinking and behaving like a manufacturer, but not a brand. Loma Linda began creating self-stable meat analogs in 1890. And survived in a single specialty retailer with limited locations in rural areas frequented by a loyal but decreasing audience inside the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Most people who purchased Loma Linda were doing so through Amazon due to limited distribution.
Fast forward to today and the meatless alternatives category is maturing in fresh and frozen but remains wide open for shelf-stable. Despite being the first shelf-stable vegetarian brand in the world, they were not experiencing the type of growth associated with the category.
The situation was clear: Loma Linda must honor the past to stay alive while growing into the future. They needed to maintain their credibility with Seventh Day Adventists and reach a wider mainstream consumer.
Despite it being sustainable packaging, the can was out of fashion.
As a result, Atlantic Natural Foods believed that Loma Linda’s future would only exist in discount stores.
Loma Linda’s primary retail channel had shrunk to 45 locations
Loma Linda is the only vegetarian brand that has a 100-year track record of fans who live longer than everyone else.
During our strategy work, we discovered that the new owner had purchased Loma Linda as part of his personal mission to find and ensure that there are sustainable sources of protein available everywhere before 2030 when the world’s population will risk breaking our food chain.
Yowza! Now that is a big idea. In fact, it’s a potent brand strategy.
- Banish customer apathy
- Inject passion and energy every part of the business
- Earn a relationship with customers + employees
We used this to create a new company mission giving them permission to celebrate their strong conviction to help a world that is sorely in need of it.
Then we focused on product lines. We helped Loma Linda to establish a three-tiered product portfolio that allowed them to tap into their namesake’s (Loma Linda California) distinction as the only U.S. based Blue Zone. All while keeping the traditional recipes safe for long-term loyalists. We then worked directly with the leadership and an external food science kitchen to develop complete meal solutions that would speak to today’s family — who believe in “real” food fueling their body, real ingredients and health benefits, and sustainability.
We also chose packaging materials and forms for new products that would get the brand placement in shelf sets in different categories within the store. And be considered online by millennials who, research showed, don’t eat from cans.
New messaging featuring the brand’s mission to create sustainable alternative proteins for the masses is aligned the perfectly with Adventist church’s history and mission. Using a contemporary tone and voice, we invited new people to try clean label, sustainable, plant-based proteins as ready-to-eat meals and honor the last twelve decades.