Positioning a product in the healthy food category is not as easy as it might be thought. Firstly, there are restrictions on the use of the word healthy, meaning specific criteria must be met before the term can be used on labeling. Content marketing is the predominant method of engaging consumers in this niche, although a strong in-store presence will help in exposing consumers to the products. Claims make up a portion of the marketing strategy for a range of companies, but some rules need to be followed if adopting this approach. Amy`s Kitchen is a shining example of a brand that has identified its position in the market and stayed true to it for over 30 years. Evol is another excellent example. It has sought to distinguish itself based on its uniqueness.
POSITIONING FOOD BRAND IN THE HEALTHY FOOD CATEGORY
"Healthy* is Limited
- The FDA limits the word "healthy" to a selected group of products. The rules regarding the use of the word healthy on food labels are set out in "Guidance for Industry: Use of the Term "Healthy" in the Labeling of Human Food Products." Other concepts that are commonly used to convey the message of healthy include heart health, energy, natural, and better for you.
Words that Convey Healthy
- Heart health is commonly used to emphasize the health components of a product. Most of the words used to emphasize this aspect of a product are plays on the word heart and could include heart-smart or heart-healthy, or heart-healthy. The American Heart Association offers an endorsement on the food labeling should the product meet their criteria. It carries some weight and is worth consideration from a new brand entering the healthy food space.
- Local food movements and organic producers are predominantly associated with the natural concept. Words related to natural include simple, goodness, pure, real, and plant-powered.
- Energy is most commonly associated with the energy bar categories, but its use has been extended in recent times to other products, where words like power and fuel are used to convey the concept. Fitness and energy are often tied. Words like lean, fit, or no sacrifice fit within this concept.
- Within the weight management category, marketers look to words like light and guilt-free to convey this messaging. This is another concept associated with energy and fitness. The imagery of these three concepts are often intermingled in marketing.
- The "bet, better for you" category encompasses a range of different concepts. Essentially it relates to the product being better for you because they are produced sustainably and humanely. The words used in this category include free-range, sustainably caught, grass-fed, local, and fair trade. Several organizations have qualifications and certifications that can be applied for if specific criteria are met, which carry weight with the consumer.
Frozen Food Comeback
- The penetration of frozen food into the household is high; however the frequency is low. 80% of consumers have frozen foods in their freezers. 70% of consumers use frozen foods to hold them over between visits to the supermarket when they have run out of their fresh produce.
- FMI Vice President of Industrial Relations, Doug Baker, said, "In terms of sales, the frozen food category is only a fraction smaller than fresh produce, bigger than all other fresh perimeter departments, bigger than candy and even snacks."
- Frozen foods are not an impulse purchase; they tend to be a planned meal. The frozen meal category has increased from 1.6% to 2.7% from 1998 to 2018. The convenience is a draw card. Frozen food is also seen as an ideal way to try a new cuisine.
- The groups that are most likely to buy in this category are older Millennials and parents of children aged 7-12. The categories of frozen food experiencing the most growth are soups and sides (9.8%), appetizers and snack rolls (5.8%), and breakfast food (5.7%).
Marketing the Healthy Food Category
- Demand for not only healthy foods but healthy food content is on the rise, with 23 billion views of food-related videos. Most of the players in this segment are small to medium in size, so content marketing is vital in getting the brand noticed.
- Content marketing is fast replacing traditional marketing, with its lower associated costs. However, often getting noticed in the store is the key to getting noticed online. Consumers are drawn to items that stand out. They want to know more about the products that have caught their attention on the shelves or have a tagline that sticks with them.
- For many in the food industry, the key to getting a product noticed by consumers is the numerous blogs, feeds, and food magazines relating to food. This has become so important that it must be part of the marketing strategy of any new brand.
- General Mills even has a blog with the purpose of getting information to bloggers about brands and food brands. Any good content marketing strategy needs to ensure SEO to get the customers to the site for the content. The importance of this in the food industry is fundamental, given that the volume of food-related searches.
Key Elements of Brand Repositioning
- Public perception is key when repositioning a brand. Social listening should be employed when repositioning a brand to determine precisely what the consumer is saying about the brand. This involves finding social content where the brand is mentioned so that the consumer perception of the brand can be better understood.
- There are a wide range of companies in the market, offering different services to companies who are seeking to employ this tactic.
- Three critical elements in brand positioning include listening to what the customers are saying about the brand, making the relevant changes to the product based on what the consumers are saying about it, and convincing consumers to try the product after the changes have been made.
- These three components must all be explored and addressed if a brand is to successfully reposition itself in the market.
CLAIMS MARKETING INSIGHTS
- When using certain words in advertising there are rules that must be followed relating to the use of particular words. Health and healthy are examples of words which have additional rules attached to them.
- If these words are to be used in any marketing then the Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC) requires for any claims regarding a particular product being healthy the company who is making the claim be able to back the claim up with clear evidence.
- Foods claiming to be healthy fall withing this category. The standard is beyond that of a non-health claim because of the implications for the consumer of relying on the information if it proves to be untrue.
- When making claims in advertising regarding a product and the specific effects of the product, companies must be prepared to back up their claims with clear evidence. This is because there is an obligation on the advertiser to be fair and truthful in their advertising and not mislead the consumer.
- Should the consumer or FTC question the claim, the advertiser must have clear evidence to support it. "Appropriate substantiation requires objective evidence to support the claim, but the amount and type of evidence depend on the claim made."
- If the advertiser cannot back up the claim, then it is likely the FTC will find the advertisement to be deceptive, and the company will face sanctions.
- Claims relating to sustainability and environmentally friendly, whether made about the product or the packaging, are another category of claims that require a heightened standard of proof.
Poor Claims Advertising
- The tobacco industry is the shining example of poor claims advertising, given the claims made regarding how healthy smoking was. This was not accompanied by any evidence to substantiate the claims. In fact, even in the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the tobacco industry continued making these claims.
- Closer to home in the food industry, Ovaltine's claims regarding nutritional value came unstuck when it was revealed that the nutritional value, in fact, came from the milk that is added. This illustrates the onus on the advertiser to be absolutely precise when using claims advertising.
- The FTC has drawn a distinction in the US between express and implied claims advertising. The following example is used to distinguish the two concepts.
- "Express: “ABC Mouthwash prevents colds” is an express claim that the product will prevent colds. Implied: “ABC Mouthwash kills the germs that cause colds” contains an implied claim that the product will prevent colds. "
- Despite the difference in the type of claim made, the advertiser is still required to substantiate both claims in the same manner.
- The way to avoid issues like this is simple. Firstly, use clear language. Secondly, if the statement is qualified, the qualifying information must be placed as close to the statement as possible, and finally, avoid small type, as this undermines the qualification.
- One of the most common types of claims is the best of claims. These claims are often said to be subjective by the advertiser. To a degree, the advertising standards authorities have allowed advertisers to make these claims based on it being the advertiser's opinion.
- This is not always the case, though, as Ticketmaster found out when advertising "Best available seats." This meant that the seats being offered for sale offered a tangible benefit compared to other tickets for the event. Unfortunately for Ticketmaster, because they could not substantiate the claim made, the advertising was found to be misleading.
- This is because the Ticketmaster claim in its wording established an objective criterion for evaluating the tickets in question. If an advertiser does this, then the claim moves from having a subjective basis to an objective one. When the claim is objective, the advertiser must have the evidence to back it up.
POSITIONING CASE STUDIES
- Amy"s Kitchen is a leader in the healthy frozen foods market. The company was born in 1988, out of a realization regarding the lack of healthy foods in this product category. With no options available founders Rachel and Andy Berliner began making their own organic and vegetarian food products.
- There first product was a pot pie, which they developed in their very own kitchen. Since then the number of products and the operation has grown. A year later, they moved into their first commercial kitchen and continued the development of their product range.
- Popular favorites burritos and mac n cheese were there next products. There was an emphasis placed on high quality food, with an attention to detail. The products were a hit, and in 1996, at the request of customers pizza was added to the menu.
- Strong advocates for the right of the consumer to know what is in their food, the company adopted non GMO labeling on its packaging. Letters from consumers alerted them to the lack of healthy gluten-free products, they developed a range to meet this demand. Amy's Kitchen is about giving back his niche.
- As the products' popularity grew, so did the operation and commercial premises were developed in Oregon. By 200'7, they were producing 700,000 meals each day that represented a range of niche markets from dairy and gluten intolerance to vegan meals.
- The company was awarded the Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Award for being one of the pioneers of the organic food industry. In 2017, with three kitchens to its name, the company branched out again opening the first vegan drive thru.
- Amy`s Kitchen now produces over 1 million meals a day.
- Amy`s messaging is centered around the health features that its product offer. It centers around the aspects of the product and the company that are important to them. They also emphasize in their marketing the historical roots and the fact they have stayed true to their original recipes.
- "Family owned and Fiercely Independent" is one aspect of their messaging, along with an acknowledgment to their history. "In 1987, Andy and Rachel Berliner made the first pot pie right out of their family home. Years later, not much has changed, except the size of our pots. " The messaging is all about emphasizing the aspects of food that saw them become popular in the beginning.
- Today their messaging continue to be an extension of their promise to the consumer. "We choose what’s best for our customers, our farmers, our employees and our planet. It’s a tall order, but we wouldn’t have it any other way."
- There product packaging is easily distinguishable, while the messaging on their packaging encompasses all the healthy virtues each product has.
- The key messaging adopted by Amy`s Kitchen is that which emphasizes the history and tradition the company has established and the commitment they have to remaining true to their roots and producing high quality, healthy food options.
- Family is the key message that they convey in all of their material. They focus on building brand support through a genuine commitment rather than rash advertising promises.
Examples of Creative
- Video advertising is used to highlight the history of the company. They also highlight the features of their products, with individual spots on each. Examples of the creative is available on YouTube.
- Social media has been used to cultivate Amy`s image. Examples of their Facebook creative is available here.
- Evol was born out of love (spelled backwards). There whole product range is about emphasizing not only a love for food, but a love for healthy food. The frozen product selection is antibiotic artificial flavor, color, additive, preservative, filler, and GMO free. Any eggs used are cage free.
- The philosophy of the company centers around, "Our mission is to inspire people to care about where food comes from and how it is produced, by making REAL FOOD that tastes delicious. "
- The product range offered by Evol comprises single serve meals, modern nutrition bowls, burritos, breakfasts, and multi serve meals.
- Evol has focused its marketing heavily on creating a strong brand that is recognized and familiar to the consumer. This is evidenced by the development of a range of gear so that consumers could show their love for the company. Although the gear is no longer available, it served the purpose of adding to brand recognition.
- The marketing places an emphasis on the quality and source of the ingredients. There is a complete feature on the company website emphasizing the ingredients as a point of distinction from other brands.
- The message Evol conveys throughout their website and marketing materials attempts to present the company as unique. They seek to distinguish themselves from other player through their uniqueness and their willingness to work as hard as is required to stay true to their origins. When it comes to the product range, they let the products speak for themselves through their unique combinations and flavors.
- The messaging comes in a complete circle when Evol cleverly links the unique flavors and combinations to its love for food; something that is evident on every single product the company makes when its name appears on the box.
- When introducing new products to the market, Evol has used its strong brand image accompanied by a range of in store activations and promotions to increase sales for the new products. They have also used the "unique" concept that they have relied on so heavily in their messaging to link the new products and their exciting flavor profiles to the other products, and by default the brand.
- The new products were marketed around the customer journey and providing the consumer the complete package and seamless experience to achieve what Evol does best purchase products with a great taste.
- The key messaging centers around the company name. "If you love yourself, eat Evol," is used as the companies key messaging. This tagline attempts to encompass everything that Evol wishes to define itself by, while at the same time it brings the consumers mind directly back to the company itself.