Monthly Archives: December 2013

Food brands need proper care and feeding.

Food brands are born out of a commitment of resources to create the face of a product. The investment is not just limited to capital in its creation and promotion, it also includes the time needed to build awareness and trust. Without proper care and feeding, food brands can’t serve the purpose for which they were created.

Just how should brand owners properly manage their brands to achieve their goals? Here are some important tips for the care and feeding of food brands:

1. Consistency. The best known food brands have spent years building consumer awareness and trust, and this has been achieved by consistency in the presentation and messaging of the brand across all platforms. These brands have a clear definition of their values which enables them to stay on message point whether it’s packaging design, consumer promotional efforts, websites, social media or B2B marketing. There are no mixed messages on these brand faces.

2. Compliance. Part of the investment in developing a brand is developing a set of brand rules that enable all stakeholders to use the brand within the same guidelines. While a brand’s face may be used by many stakeholders for many different purposes, the face must remain the same to preserve the integrity, and in some cases the legal status, of the brand in the long run.

3. Control. This is one of the biggest challenges for food brands today. While brand owners may have achieved consistency in brand presentation and compliance among stakeholders in brand use, control of external brand use and exposure is extremely difficult in the digital environment. Brand owners need to establish procedures for brand management that include a dedicated team to monitor and immediately respond to challenges to the brand face, whether it’s an unhappy consumer or an unfortunate circumstance. The brand face must be continuously protected to maintain its value and integrity.

Whether a food brand is a fresh new face or a well known global face, investing in brand asset management is an integral part of brand development. Brands do not survive for long on their own…they need to be  properly cared for.

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Consumers are shopping for healthier foods and packaging can help them out.

Consumers are shopping more for healthy alternatives in the grocery aisles and food packaging can make it easier for them.  According to the 19th annual FMI survey “Shopping for Health”, consumers are becoming more informed on eating healthy and they’re reading food packaging for claims that support their health concerns.

The top health claims that attract consumers to particular food brands and products are varied. The top concern is heart health (73%) , followed closely by wanting more energy (71%), digestive health concerns (66%) and improving mind/brain function (65%). The more prominent these claims, substantiated by product ingredients, the more that consumers appear to be influenced by on -pack claims. Not that long ago, consumer surveys suggested that food and beverage product choices were being influenced more by claims of what was not in products… sugar -free, no trans or saturated fats, etc.

Food and beverage marketers need to pay particular attention to consumers responses to packaging and prominence of product claims. Most consumers indicated that they do read food labels, but that audience share has dropped from 71% in 2007 to 64% in this recent survey. Interestingly, consumers may be reading labels less, but they are buying more food products with certain label/packaging characteristics, primarily what is in the product versus what is not in the product. This proactive approach to food and nutrition is evidenced by what consumers say they are looking for on food packaging:

  • Over 50% claim they are buying more whole-grain products and seek out those on-pack claims.
  • Over 40% are looking for reduced/low sodium products.
  • Low fat (41%) and lower/reduced/zero calories (28%) are the next most sought after claims.
  • All natural is a claim that 28% of consumers are seeking, in spite of the fact that there is no established FDA definition of this claim.
  • Approximately 20% of consumers indicated that they have seen front-of-pack nutrition information. Of the total survey respondents, 61% indicated that front-of-pack nutritional information would be an improvement over such information remaining on the back of packaging.

Packaging design has always been an important element in the branding and marketing of food products. These survey results help point food marketers in the right direction in terms of the packaging information that consumers are looking for when they grocery shop and where on packaging they expect to find it.

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