Pasture-raised egg brand Vital Farms is crediting its quirky marketing messaging for a 40% increase in brand awareness in 2022 and a 45% rise in household penetration to 10.5 million.
The company expects sales growth and consumer awareness to accelerate further this year due to a new relationship with Dot Foods that will give Vital Farms its first national foodservice exposure via 5,200 distributors to restaurants of all sizes.
In the fiscal year ended Dec. 25, Vital Farms’ net revenue grew by 38.8% to $362.1 million and its gross margin was 30.2%—up from 17% in 2014.
Amplifying awareness played a direct role in last year’s household penetration boost, according to CMO Kathryn McKeon.
“Our major focus in 2022 was investing our marketing dollars to drive increased brand awareness, and we plan to further expand the number of consumers aware of Vital Farms moving forward,” McKeon told financial analysts on last week’s earnings call.
“For us, increased awareness leads to increased consideration, and consideration leads to purchase. This speaks to our ability to reach consumers with our uniquely compelling message—and it's reflected in the improvement in key metrics, including our brand awareness, as well as brand trust.”
McKeon made multiple references to Vital Farms’ irreverent ad campaigns—including the “Bullsh*t Free” ad platform that amplifies the company’s cage-free egg differentiation while calling out competitors for how their hens are raised.
As previously reported, last fall the company extended the “Bullsh*t Free” concept with new commercials from the Preacher agency.
In this spot, three office workers were crammed into a tiny, square space to mimic the conditions under which many hens exist.
Another commercial called out companies for naming themselves after meadows and valleys and farms when their hens “don’t roam on meadows, valleys or farms.”
On the foodservice side, president and CEO Russell Diez-Canseco said the Dot Foods redistribution model “will help us reach even more foodservice operators—from high-volume brunch spots to smaller regional chains and family-owned restaurants.”
In a separate deal, Vital Farms is partnering the True Food Kitchen restaurant chain, which has 43 locations across the United States—mainly in the Southeast and Southwest.
True Food Kitchen will “serve our pasture-raised eggs on their menus, alongside other intentionally sourced ingredients,” said Diez-Canseco. “They're an award-winning restaurant brand and pioneer of wellness-driven dining that shares our values for improving the lives of people, animals in the planet through food.”