How to market your food products to healthy eaters

The Link Between Healthy Eating and Your Products

The UK government has been campaigning for people to eat healthier and make better food choices in recent years to tackle the rise in obesity.

Is it really as simple as marketing with a variety of content format?

A large percentage of the population doesn’t think so.

Current research, has provided insight into a link between childhood obesity and poverty. Claiming that the price of eating healthier foods, is a drastic difference to its unhealthier competitors within the British food environment.

So, is it just price that is causing issues?

In short, the answer is no.

The ideology of weight loss can be successfully achieved. However, it is another factor entirely to keep the weight off once the first goal has been fulfilled. This is because in the UK the food environment is deemed unsupportive to weight loss maintenance.

It is argued that current policy towards this sector has created limitations for those trying to maintain a healthy weight. One of the biggest challenges is the price of healthy food for low-income families. Other factors include social issues involving stress or holidays, motivation and self-regulation.

The food environment differs for people in different areas for example some areas may source low-cost food specifically as it is inhabited by lower-income families who cannot afford to buy healthier foods at a higher price. Some are influenced by accessibility and availability of foods in their daily lives as they go from work to home or other events. This increases food behaviours that may not be beneficial to maintain a healthy weight over time.

So, why is it so difficult?

Constant effort is required to maintain a healthy weight over time. The government is pushing out knowledge for people to use, working with the NHS and distributing easy-to-follow guides for choosing healthier options confidently when in a supermarket. However, people are still struggling as it is time-consuming to go through food labels and similar product markets, environmental factors and social pressures can contribute to the final decision made as described previously.

Some people don’t have time to pre-prepare foods before working and may have a small window of time to consume food. Therefore, the decision will be made quickly with ease-of-use or availability of food products that won’t necessarily be healthy.

Some developed strategies people are using, involve not bringing money to work to spend on vending machines, etc. avoiding certain unhealthy supermarket aisles, avoiding food delivery services such as fast food, and taking stress factors out of shopping such as eating before going to a supermarket to do a food shop.

So, what does this mean for the print and packaging industry?

In order to stand out to this percentage of the population, you need to be eye-catching but provide nutritional information in an obvious place. Thus, the consumer can make a quicker decision that will align with their ethical reasoning. Such as your product using environmentally friendly packaging or making a health claim such as high in fibre.

It is important you tailor your food products to your specific target market so that the supermarket will stock your product within these desired food aisles. If your healthy snack does not properly state on the labelling or packaging that it is healthy, your product may end up within the confectionary aisle for example, rather than the intended. Meaning it could be more likely to go into an aisle that people will not go down on purpose as described previously as they maintain their healthy weight strategy.

So, how do we market our products effectively?

  • A huge market, is now promoting your products through social media channels and teaming up with “influencer” style creatives to help market your products. As more people now use social media it is a widely used tactic to speak to a larger market in a short time. Although, it has been found that some people find online factors to be untrustworthy or confusing of trust, therefore it is wise to include reliable and trusted links of information to and about your products when using this type of strategy.
  • Another factor is brand authenticity, including some form of consistency with your branding will make your products more trusted as genuine to those seeking your branded products within a supermarket style shop. It will be less time-consuming for consumers of your products and will impact availability and accessibility if branded correctly along with secure methods such as unique barcoding or the use of a ‘QR’ code to distribute other/ more detailed information such as health benefits of the product or brand. Thus, allowing the consumer to quickly make a decision and still link within their strategies of maintaining a healthy weight.
  • The industry is widely competitive, with more choice options available to a diverse population. (For example; free-from and plant-based foods are becoming increasingly popular.) If you provide these products, you will want to state these claims front and centre within your labelling, packaging and ingredients so that your consumers can make an informed decision and build a trusting relationship with your brand. With laws and regulations changing and increasing awareness of presenting allergens within your food products properly, it is vital you get your packaging and labelling correct so that your consumers can find your product in the correct places and have the necessary information to decide if it is a safe food for them to enjoy.
  • Healthier Options Considered Less Desirable, the common thesis from the population describes eating out as a time to enjoy food. Thus, meaning they see healthier food options as bland and would rather choose less healthy options when eating out. Should you develop a product that packs a punch on flavour and consistency, you need to shout about it through your packaging and labelling. Designing your products 'look’ needs to be researched thoroughly in terms of colours to use that will catch the eye and meet the expectations of your consumers. (For example; using red to promote a fruity/ summer berry flavour or spicy flavours.)

 You have a limited space to say exactly what you need to the consumer so that they can take in all the information they need to and still understand your brands’ message. This is where the use of a ‘QR’ code can become extremely effective to promote more of your brands’ story or promotions to keep your consumers coming back to your products.

  • Working Together, with print companies who can provide bespoke labelling solutions or packaging solutions for your products, where you still have the design control, can be an extremely effective solution to gain market promotion without having to pull products for labelling mistakes and issues. Many companies are now turning their attention to ‘Greener’ solutions within labelling and packaging, saving money, time and waste for companies who need to print quickly. This appeals to consumers as sustainability and eco-friendly choices are a trending factor in the decision-making process over products. (Tolarus Can provide many of these solutions!)

The take-away

  • The main take-away to note is that your products need to be marketed and produced effectively for your target market and to be displayed in shops within the correct sections to be found easily by your consumers who may not always have much time to look!
  • Let’s not forget you need to be thinking of the trending factors among your market and how healthy your product is to be able to stand out as a prominent choice.
  • It is important to align your brand and products with your values and ethical views that your target market is looking for, and to effectively market this through your products. (For example; making the correct health claims, providing visible nutritional information such as the front-of-pack traffic light system and using sustainable eco-friendly packaging.)
  • Not to mention the price is a huge factor to consider and if your target market will be able to afford to buy your product over another. (Can they maintain their healthy weight strategies with your product? Is it flavourful? Is it widely affordable and accessible?).

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