Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Letting traditional foods inspire you could be your smartest strategy

LU adIf you think that breakfast biscuits are a new and exciting phenomenon think again. Breakfast biscuits – a French invention – will be 65 years old in 2015.

The phenomenal success of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits in Europe, the US and elsewhere is rightly hailed as an example of a simple innovation – taking the humble sweet biscuit and reinventing it as a convenient, on-the-go breakfast food.

Key to that reinvention is the promise of “sustained energy” – a marketing message backed by a regulator-approved health claim, based on the starch used in the biscuits. It’s a starch which has been demonstrated to have a very clear positive effect on maintaining steady blood sugar, without unhealthy blood sugar spikes.

Belvita’s success has led to a host of me-toos and given birth to a category worth around $500 million in retail sales in 2013.

The current incarnation of Belvita appeared in France under the brand “LU”, almost 15 years ago. At the time LU belonged to Danone. Today it is part of Mondelez.

But the message of a biscuit for breakfast wasn’t new. The picture above shows an advertisement for LU biscuits from 1953. The ad hangs on the wall of our Lyon office.

The French text explains that it is “breakfast food”. It was a message which was very successful in the 1950s. The brand dropped the tagline in the late 1960s and it took until almost 2000 before LU returned strongly to its breakfast roots.

Taking what’s traditional and re-making it has proven itself to be one of the most successful strategies you can follow. Greek yoghurt – for example – is a simple story of introducing a traditional Greek food to Americans, for whom it was new and exciting.

If you want to be successful, why not have some fun and let yourself be inspired by old products and old ads? It might be a more productive and more enjoyable way to spend your day than spending a fortune on consultants.

Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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