In NNB this month: plant burgers and ginger shots

Posted on:
August 6, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Can plant-based products do to meat what they have done to dairy? Can a pea protein-based burger deliver on consumers’ expectations of ‘natural’? These are the two big questions faced by the roll-out of the Beyond Burger in the chilled meat cabinets of America’s supermarkets.

Merchandising is at the heart of the strategy for Beyond Burger and it’s no accident that the company is taking the successful strategy of non-dairy plant milks as its model.

But consumers increasingly want their foods to be “as natural as possible”, with few ingredients, all easy to recognize – and Beyond Burger has 20. The risk is it could look like the opposite of simple and natural.

Japanese pharma group Otsuka is the latest big player to show its faith in plant-based non-dairy products, acquiring Daiya Foods (see Case Study in September 2016 New Nutrition Business). Daiya has grown rapidly by providing cheese, yoghurt and cheesecakes that are free-from dairy, gluten and most allergens. Pharma companies have been notably unsuccessful in food and health – Otsuka is the exception to this rule.

Coldpress, founded in 2011, is starting to make its mark enjoying double-digit growth even as UK consumers, as in so many other markets, increasingly shun fruit juices over concerns about their sugar content.

Maia yoghurt debuted ten years ago and – like most start-ups – the road has been long and full of challenges. However, patience is rewarded and Maia has found a niche for a product that is probiotic, high in protein and low in sugar.

Nourish shows the value of treating the early years of a new brand as a time to learn and adjust. In 2017 the company is rolling out a slimmed-down line of snacks with better recipes and a major packaging make-over and it is expanding distribution from an e-commerce subscription-only base into conventional retailing.

Ginger has a long traditional association with digestive wellness. Entrepreneur Zyad Moussa aims to build on that with Ginger Shot. A cold-pressed, HPP product that combines ginger extract and fruit juices in 2.5oz (74ml) bottles. The company is taking a slow-and-steady approach to building distribution.

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How do you appeal to health-conscious moms?

Posted on:
July 26, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Moms have always been a great force behind the success of food and beverage brands, but now they have become the ultimate gateway consumer for companies aiming at the natural, organic and healthy products segments – especially if they’re first-time parents.

Lisa Mabe, founder of GreenPurse, a specialty research and public relations consultancy, says they are a super-motivated consumer. “First-time moms represent a window of opportunity for both retailers and brands to catch a customer on the cusp of a new life stage,” Mabe said.

Mabe created a list of best-practice tips to hone in on health-oriented moms, and here is a selection of some of her ideas:

1. Go shop-along 
Shop with mothers to understand how they think, behave and buy in your category.

2. Produce mom-centric content 
Create visual content useful to moms, which will fuel visits to your website.

3. Help moms get the weekly shopping done 
Partner with retailers on instore programmes to educate and entertain moms and kids, making shopping easier.

4. Be a presence in trusted mom media 
Get coverage in media outlets with a focused mom following, rather than big mainstream media.

5. Organize or host mom meetups 
It’s a great way to get feedback about your products directly from the customers.

6. Utilize mom experts to advocate for your brand 
Work with mom experts with a strong media presence, such as nutritionists, dieticians, authors and bloggers, to create regular posts on your website.

7. Participate in industry and consumer events about moms or targeting moms 
Go for shows that are related to your product category, such as events about health and wellness, eating trends or gluten-free.

8. Be an industry presence and showcase your success in connecting with moms 
You can present your knowledge in marketing to moms by speaking at industry trade shows, or giving interviews for industry publications.

For more information, read the full article “Creating lifelong customers from health-oriented moms” in Kids Nutrition Report issue 60, 2017.

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Iceberg ahead for traditional carbs

Posted on:
July 23, 2017
Julian Mellentin

Spotted this week (sorry for the poor picture quality), Subway is promoting its salads with an advertising campaign using the tagline “Iceberg ahead” (referencing the iceberg lettuce which is featured in some of the products).

Whether eating at home or on-the-go, people want variety; people want fresh and healthy and they want convenient vegetables.

As part of their everyday weight wellness choices some consumers are giving up on bread. Many more are still eating bread, but they are choosing to eat it less often.

In the UK, for example (where this Subway advertising was spotted) supermarket sales of bread are falling a steady 4% a year in volume, 6% in value. Big brands are experiencing bigger falls.

Eating fewer carbs is an established reality for more and more people. They are not necessarily eating Paleo or “going keto”, but they are selectively limiting their consumption of some starches. Eating vegetables instead – at least occasionally – is an easy way to do so.

If you’re the world’s biggest and best-known on-the-go sandwich chain and you want to keep people coming through the door you have to widen your offering to meet their wish for freshness, variety and a choice of fewer or no carbs or accept the erosion of your business.

The weight wellness decision-making that’s causing some people to reduce their carb intake also makes them look for protein. So it’s not surprising that Subway’s salads deliver 13g-15g of protein per serve.

More protein and fewer – but better and more plant-based carbs – are two sides of the same coin. It is a behaviour that is established enough in people’s minds that a mass-market foodservice chain sees the value in meeting this market. It’s not a fad, it’s a trend. And it’s one that’s been 15 years in the making. Ignore it at your peril.

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