Personalisation fast becoming the “new normal”

Posted on:
November 29, 2016
Julian Mellentin

personalisation-consumer-2When a giant food company invests $32 million in a startup focusing on personalized nutrition (NNB Key Trend 4), then you know that “personalization” has reached its tipping point.

The giant is Campbell, and the startup is Habit, launched by Neil Grimmer, the founder of Plum Organics, a baby food company which went from disruptive start-up to market leader.

Grimmer got his genome sequenced, his blood tested and, with the help of doctors, embarked on a customized nutrition programme. Six months later he “felt amazing,
had lost 11kg and had more energy”. Grimmer told NNB that “the genesis
for Habit was the idea of taking a very complicated system – the process I went through – and making it available to millions of Americans at a price point that will be accessible for all”.

Personalization is already a powerful and well-established trend and entrepreneurs like Grimmer are taking it to a whole new level.

Personalisation is about consumers “taking back control”. They want to feel more empowered and confident to create their own healthy eating patterns. It goes hand-in-hand with growing awareness that diet is a personal matter – and it’s another stage in the long slow death of “one size fits all” dietary recommendations.

Fragmentation (Key Trend 10) is in a cast-iron feedback loop with personalization, each feeding the other and reinforcing the trend. And both trends lead, very firmly, to premiumisation.

The key point for all companies is this: it is becoming increasingly difficult to create mass brands in the way we understood them in the past. If your company’s strategy is based on building high-volume business at mass- market prices, then you might have the wrong strategy. The future is a series of premium-priced niches.

The emergence of these trends has been clear for a long time, as we said back in 2003:

“What few would have suspected five years ago is that consumers’ lifestyle needs increasingly connect to the idea of products for individual consumption.

“This conjoins with the increasing fragmentation of consumers’ perceptions of what is healthy.

“Personalisation will be a science-based extension of the current trend, which is based on consumer experimentation and media information. What does this mean for brands? Such personalisation could simply reinforce the trend towards a market made up of a proliferation of niche health-enhancing products.”


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The 10 Key Growth Trends in the Business of Dairy Nutrition

Posted on:
November 2, 2016
Julian Mellentin

dairyktimageEvery two years we publish a detailed update of the Key Trends for the dairy industry. For us, a trend is only a Key Trend if it:

  • Drives growth
  • Will endure

If they can connect to the Key Trends, dairy companies have some good opportunities for profitable growth at good margins.

For example, as a result of new science about dairy’s health benefits, in some markets the most health-informed consumers are buying more full-fat products while sales of low-fat are flat or falling. In the US market, for example, the volume of whole milk sold at retail grew 5.5% in 2016 and the volume of zero/low-fat milk fell by 5.1% (IRI).

Cheese is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the science-based re-birth of dairy: There no negatives associated with cheese from the fat or sodium and it actually confers some health benefits.

Snacking is the biggest growth opportunity for cheese and a few companies are already getting more sales at higher margins from focusing on snacking. These brands enjoy better margins and surging sales.

One example is Sargento Balanced Breaks cheese snacks – a composite snack which include cheese and nuts in a single snack-pot. They achieved $67 million (€60 million) in retail sales in the US in their first year, making it one of the 10 most-successful new products launched in America in 2015

In fact single-serve and snackified products have to be part of every company’s strategy (Key Trend 1). This is one of the strongest ways to get better prices and better margins.

It may seem strange to include non-dairy among dairy trends. But like it or not it’s there, both as a threat and an opportunity. In the US, almond and coconut milks have already taken a 12% share of the liquid milk market.

Non-dairy plant milks successfully use the message of better digestive health as a way of positioning themselves against dairy.

Much of the negativity about dairy that is eroding dairy in some markets – and is going to erode dairy even more – arises from consumers seeking digestive wellness and associating it with dairy-free.


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The demonisation of sugar: Thai authorities dramatise the risks

Posted on:
September 27, 2016
Julian Mellentin

thai-diabetes-picA series of shocking images by the Thai anti-diabetes campaigners has provoked a strong reaction, and that was precisely their goal: to turn people away from sweets. The attention grabbing campaign sends an aggressive but clear message – if you eat too many sweets, you get diabetes.

Thailand’s population has long been struggling with diabetes and in an attempt to combat the disease, the country’s Diabetes Association launched a shocking campaign billed “Sweet Kills” that shows the consequences of excessive sugar consumption.

Designer Nattakong Jaengsem, commissioned by the Diabetes Association of Thailand to produce the campaign, created a visually striking series of posters showing limbs with gaping wounds much like those caused by gangrene – only the wounds, when you look closely, are running with confectionery.

The in-your-face marketing move is no accident. Diabetes is a big public health problem in Thailand with 9.6% of the population affected by the disease, according to the most recent World Health Organisation report.

The Thai government has taken several steps to address the issue, starting with the introduction of a universal health care programme to ease the impact of diabetes in 2002. However, many Thais, mainly those living in rural areas, failed to reap the benefits of the new programme, having never been diagnosed. So in 2009 the Government launched a diabetes and hypertension screening campaign for people aged 35 and older, and within the next two years more than 90% of these people were tested.

However, the recent campaign by the Diabetes Association is exceptional because it establishes a direct link between sugar intake and gangrene, one of the most horrific consequences of diabetes. Over time, diabetes causes cardiovascular damage and diminishes blood circulation, and as a result, wounds may take longer to heal, and gangrene can result.

Jaengsem created a compact and compelling visual formula showing the cause and effect of diabetes – one that is sure to make people think twice before they pick up another piece of candy.

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