Friday, July 16, 2021

What’s the Next “Healthy?”


There’s a lot of conversation regarding what the future holds for retailers, restaurants, office buildings, well, really just about everything. But one conversation not taking place…until now…is what consumers will view as being healthy food. 

Is it plant? Is it cellular? Is it clean label? Is it local? 

What’s healthy for one person may not be healthy for another. One thing I hope we can agree on is that healthy should be nutritious. 

You may not be aware, but in early May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started a public process to update the “healthy” nutrient content claim for food labeling. Updating the term is part of an overall plan to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry. 

FDA says that the updated nutrient content claim will be consistent with current nutrition science and federal dietary guidelines. Yet, the FDA issued a request for information and comments on September 28, 2016, and held a public meeting on March 9, 2017. I hate to break it to FDA, but what was “healthy” back then may not be “healthy” by the time they finalize the definition. 

While FDA is considering how to redefine the term healthy as a nutrient content claim, food manufacturers can continue to use the term healthy on foods that meet the current regulatory definition. For more information, link HERE.

So that brings me back to the question I posed in my headline: What’s the next healthy? After all, the more a term is regulated or scrutinized, the more creative marketers get to find alternative descriptors. For a while, energy was a go-to for many marketers. Superfood, as well, but that seems to have lost some of its spunk.  

“Good” is an interesting one. It’s not in product descriptors, but it is in company names, brands and slogans. These four come to mind: Good Foods Company, Feel Good Foods, Realgood Foods and Made Good. 

What’s “good?” I want great!

“The definition of ‘good’ has evolved substantially throughout my career,” says Kristin Kroepfl, chief marketing officer for Quaker. “At Quaker, we strive to meet our consumers’ changing needs everyday by delivering on nutrition as well as taste.”

Kroepfl will join my friends at Bader Rutter on Wednesday, August 25, for a live panel discussion where marketers will share their definitions of what’s “good” in food and beverage marketing. You’ll hear perspectives from food leaders at Quaker, the National Pork Board and more, as they shed light on how they tackle the constantly moving target of what’s “good.” Register HERE

“Kentucky Fried Chicken was ‘Finger lickin’ good,’” says Dennis Ryan, executive creative director at Bader Rutter. “Maxwell House tasted ‘Good to the last drop.’ And we believed that ‘With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.’ Then that big mouth Tony the Tiger one-upped good by boasting ‘They’re grr-r-reat!’

Like I said, I don’t want good, I want great. 

“But in an increasingly commoditized market, good taste alone isn’t always enough,” says Ryan. “Brands started pitching their offerings as ‘good and good for you.’ Wheaties boasted ‘the goodness of 100% whole grain,’ and all sorts of boxed and canned products claimed to be ‘naturally good.’
You can also read more on the topic of “good” HERE.

Power is a term that seems to be gaining traction, as you can see from this new Yoplait line introduced by General Mills this week. Yoplait Power is the first national brand yogurt with a combination of vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc to help support the immune system. The low-fat yogurt includes fruit and chia seeds and comes in four flavors: Blueberry Blackcurrant, Cherry Pomegranate, Mango Orange and Strawberry Acai.

Power has also long been associated with protein, specifically dairy proteins, so use of the term makes logical sense…for dairy.

But power does not say it all. 
The long-established trend towards proactively managing health and well-being was brought into sharper focus by the pandemic. Research by Innova Market Insights reveals a new wave of opportunity for functional nutrition product launches for 2021 and beyond, which will be explored further in a webinar on July 19.
You can register HERE.

Even prior to COVID-19, consumers were taking a more holistic approach to health, focusing on positive nutrition to boost the body’s resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. The impact of the pandemic brought health needs even more to the fore, with the growing desire to maintain physical and mental fitness developing alongside the more immediate focus on personal health security and hygiene. This included choosing functional foods and beverages, as well as maintaining or increasing exercise, protecting the body from health threats and utilizing more self-care products at home as access to shops and services was restricted.

Consumers across the globe are placing increased emphasis on positive nutrition rather than the more traditional reductionist methods of diet control. An average 71% of respondents in Innova’s 2020 Health & Nutrition Survey agreed that it was important or very important to choose food and drink products that positively boost nutrition or benefit how the body functions.

Boost nutrition, proven nutrition, or simply, “nutritional,” I think that’s the new “healthy.”
We use the word nutrition and nutritional all the time in our conversation but seldom communicate it on product packages, except, of course, on the back panel as “Nutrition Facts.” A quick search of “nutritional” products, namely bars and beverages, provides many examples, with only a few using the term on front of pack. (All of the examples in this blog contain dairy ingredients.)

Merriam-Webster provides this definition for nutritional: the act or process of nourishing or being nourished. I think an appropriate synonym is “milk.” Dairy packs in 13 essential nutrients. That’s better than good. That’s great, make that “great nutrition!” That’s also pretty darn healthy, don’t you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment