Nutrition: The Key to Marketing Healthy Food Products
The food industry has gone through radical changes over the past few years. Consumers’ demand for healthy food is replacing the once popular (and profitable) sugary drinks and snacks. As a result, products labeled with buzzwords like ‘free-from’ and ‘no added’ are standing out at the grocery aisle as shoppers seek more nutritious options. Consumers are commonly identifying themselves with a particular way of eating. Food diets such as gluten free, veganism, Paleo, and Keto are mainstream and consumers seek products identified as such when they make purchasing decisions.
The healthy food trend is fueled by a greater cultural awareness of nutrition and how different foods impact their own health. Consumers are making purchasing decisions with food as medicine top of mind. They are constantly on the hunt for new, tastier, healthier foods to eat and the industry has been quick to respond. Therefore, consumers’ health concerns are now the priority when creating and marketing new food products.
There is no question that social media has played a large part in these changes. For instance, the idea of posting a picture of a meal is now commonplace. Think of all of the beautiful pictures of food you have come across with the hashtag #food and #foodporn associated with them. In addition, social media has had a tremendous impact on the boom in healthy eating. Chefs and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) are using it to reach a wider audience, which has had a positive impact on consumers’ food choices.
All of these changes call for a shift in the way that brands effectively market products. Companies are now challenged with positioning their new products to clearly and accurately communicate the potential health benefits they provides. As a result, content marketing takes an even bigger seat at the table. Here are some of the important things to consider as your brand adapts:
Tell Your Story
Use content to share you “why.” Tell the story of the inspiration behind the brand. Was there a personal struggle? Did you identify a need? Make the story as personal and relatable as possible. Be sure to tell it in both video and written format. This will better the chances of it being shared.
Consumers’ constant demand for real time nutrition information makes content that educates very powerful. Use a mixture of highly valued thought leadership and light hearted educational lists. This makes products more discoverable through both organic and paid search. Be sure to infuse sponsored content from health experts as this lends credibility and builds trust. Consumers want to feel confident in the health benefits of your product.
Align with a Lifestyle
Position your product in a way that it is naturally adopted by a particular lifestyle. If a product’s messaging aligns with a consumer’s food diet identity, it automatically sets it apart. It also creates content that is easily shared among followers of that particular lifestyle, for instance.
Share All of the Details
Today’s consumers are skeptical, which makes transparency critical. Consumers want to know every little detail about where and how the product is made. In other words, they want to know and understand the ingredients. Content that tells this story builds trust and confidence in the brand. Video content is particularly powerful here.
Keep them Coming Back
Focus on content that keeps your brand relevant beyond the initial purchase. An effective strategy continues to provide value and opportunities to engage. This is another area where sponsored content from health experts is particularly powerful. Overall, content that reflects a brand’s commitment to nutrition and health is a great way to build brand loyalty with consumers.
Use Word of Mouth
Engage influencers but beware! As you work to establish (and keep) your brand in the health space, it becomes really important to use your influencers strategically. Source credentialed experts for any content that speaks to science or research. This has the power to set your brand apart and continue to build trust. Engage lifestyle influencers to spread the word but keep it light. Content that highlights your commitment to accurate health information translates into consumers identifying your brand as a healthy product.
Overall, as a long time RDN myself, I have found one common trend: confusion. Conflicting nutritional information is constantly bombarding consumers. However, their demand for healthy products creates the perfect opportunity to quiet the noise and set your brand apart. A content strategy dedicated to communicating and educating the science of nutrition and health, in a credible and meaningful way, is sure to speak to consumers and drive sales.
Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD
A Registered Dietitian supporting nutrition businesses with impactful content and marketing strategy.