It's 2019: the year when sustainable and ethical living goes mainstream. Transparency, trust, ethics and sustainability are the four key themes driving and impacting consumer trends at the moment. RAW, an experiential food pop-up, seeks to reconnect the population with food. Through a series of immersive experiences, varying from 15 minutes to 8 hours, guests will get hands on with a selection of raw meat, fish and plants. Guests will be taken on a journey from farm to fork: a guided sensory experience where they'll feast on the shared fruits of their labour with groups of like-minded individuals.
We were approached by RAW to turn their idea into a business. The founder understood from the outset that without a comprehensive brand strategy, the process of branding is arbitrary. We brought together every piece of the puzzle: utilising a variety of analytical and research techniques in order to create a brand strategy that resonated with the client and prepared them for phase two: creative development.
The commitments of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperature rise within safe limits cannot be met without including dietary change as a priority solution. We need urgent action to reduce our meat consumption by at least 50% by 2030. Livestock production is a driving force behind the wide-scale global biodiversity loss, particularly through the increasing cultivation and use of crops for feeding intensively produced chicken, pork and dairy. A number of UK organisations advocate the "less and better" approach.
RAW recognises that addressing climate change is only part of the picture. The benefits for animal welfare, the environment, health, reducing waste and for farming livelihoods from shifting our consumption towards better meat. But what does this mean in practice? Our work for RAW took several months. We conducted thorough consumer research, and consulted numerous studies around food sustainability. It sprung up a lot of questions: What do we mean by "better" meat? How much "less" is necessary, and does that apply to all types of meat? For some, veganism and cutting out all animal products seems the best solution. But then, isn't some land only suitable for grazing while also locking carbon into the soil? Are there better forms of farming that we should support, that provide higher standards for animal welfare, avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics, provide environmental benefits and which support rural landscapes and livelihoods? There are no straightforward answers to these questions. What RAW has recognised is that there's an extreme disconnect between us and the food that we choose to eat. RAW is attuned to how we navigate food as humans—meat, fish and plants—and crucially provides guidance on how to live a more ethical and sustainable life.
We placed RAW's target customers on a spectrum. At one end sits a group of curious individuals who side on the err of caution; at the other, a group of willing and ready individuals to embrace all that RAW has to offer. Experiences vary from 15 minutes to 8 hours, and cover most essential food preparation skills, from foraging to butchery. All experiences utilise ethically-sourced ingredients from local suppliers.
RAW launched in March 2019 at Easter Bavelaw, a start-up farm on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The experience was centered around a whole sheep, which was butchered, cooked and enjoyed with a selection of locally-sourced, seasonal produce, such as pumpkin, potatoes and kale from Phantassie Organic Produce. The meat was marinated with honey from Miód and seasoned with Isle of Skye Sea Salt. Beer was provided by Upfront Brewery, and served in specially-commissioned ceramics from Studio Brae.
Working closely with RAW’s founder, a key component of the brand strategy was to consider how this model for experiences would evolve over time. What experiences will RAW offer next summer? What kind of frequency should it have? Where will it be in 2020? These questions are integral for goal setting, and help to keep the business on-track.
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