Whether you are in your twenties or seventy years old, maintaining your health and wellbeing is likely to be at the top of your priority list. However, until recently, discussing health and wellness was something we liked to keep private and generally only discussed with a professional or our doctor. Times have changed as ‘Health and Wellness’ are now a mainstream public conversation, with people sharing their experiences across multiple social media platforms and discussing issues openly with family and friends (even strangers). Food and drink are at the forefront of the debate.
By picking up your Hello Fresh food box on your doorstep or grabbing an on-the-go probiotic immunity shot from LIV, you are contributing to the fast-growing £500 billion-pound global industry of wellbeing. This growth has predominately been led and driven by Millennials (Generation C = Connected), a group who were most likely brought up on some sort of sugar-coated bowl of gluten and dairy milk for breakfast. As a self-confessed Millennial, and a Senior Account Director at a brand design consultancy that specialises in ‘better for you’ brands, this topic sits comfortably in my repertoire. We are inundated with requests from brands, both long-established and emerging, to help them engage with a consumer that is increasingly concerned with their own micro wellbeing, as well as that of the greater macro (environment) wellbeing.
With their Internet enriched knowledge, my generation are starting to have an impact on what “better for you” choices mean and are actively searching for authentic brands that promote these types of options. For these increasingly influential consumers, it would seem that it is no longer sufficient for brands to bring only happiness to the world in some way, they need to bring happiness and health.
The increasing demand for brands that provide or promote health has meant that we as consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands, which deliver a “better for you” choice. Wellbeing has an inherent premium value for consumers as they are investing to prolong or enhance their own lives. Consumers are also more willing to share these ‘better for you’ brands with their peers, as they reflect positively on the buyer. This all contributes to the much-valued brand advocacy base which every great brand needs to succeed.
If consumers believe a brand is negatively impacting their wellbeing, they will inevitably punish the brand for its lack of relevance to them. Brands can’t pay lip service anymore, consumers know the game, they are more connected and savvier with information on topics and want to know more about the product story. If a brand chooses not to listen to their consumers demands for truly ‘better for them’ options, they should anticipate their product’s brand value to be eroded, as was the case recently with Kraft Heinz.
Kraft Heinz – one of the world’s largest food organisations – had been successfully reformulating and improving their current product portfolio, however the incremental change (Low Salt/Sugar etc), was not a powerful enough story. Opening the door for competitor brands, who aligned to consumers’ perceptions and concerns, eating into Kraft’s dominance. This was reflected in their weakened performance figures and $15 billion write-down a few months ago. Millennials seek real change, on the surface and/or underneath the brand, standard tweaking around the edges isn’t enough, there is a demand for new – a demand for better.
One brand that has been able to successfully capitalise on this ‘better for you’ perception is the US export Halo Top Ice Cream – offering a product with less than half the sugar and calories, with a higher Protein content than its rivals, coupled with a truly guilt-free happy pleasure positioning. Halo Top is, on average, 40% more expensive than its competitors at £5 per tub, however this has not negatively impacted on their sales – business is booming! The brand has racked up over £13.1m (on debut) in sales to become the UK’s sixth largest ice cream tub brand. By communicating all the happiness in its flavours as well as the better for you lower calories health, Halo really is the ‘full tub’.
It is easy to assume when looking at the pricing of ‘better for you’ food and drink, that it is an elitist category, only for the wealthy middle classes. However, this ‘elitism’ is being dismantled as the demand from all consumers to feel well about themselves and their choices grows. Public interest is now driving retailers to introduce more affordable and mainstream options into stores.
A brand that has effectively tapped into the wellness trend on a mass market scale is Alpro. In the last year in the UK, Alpro saw their sale of alternative milks soar up 9.1% from the previous year. Their yoghurts and desserts also have seen a boost in sales up 24%. The truth at the core of Alpro is “plant-based”, which is something that consumers believe in and believe is better for them and the environment. By choosing Alpro consumers feel they are helping to tackle health and environmental issues through their purchasing power.
Better for you is proving to be big business. As it continues to become a more mainstream topic, consumers will continue to place ever more value on choosing ‘Better for you’ brands. Whether wellness is this season’s hottest trend, or a long-term societal shift, time will tell.
Christopher Schilperoort Senior Account Director at award-winning brand design consultancy This Way Up Design.
Source: This Way Up