We are bombarded with conflicting and confusing information about health and nutrition every time we click on media, pick up the paper or drive around town. Billions of dollars are dedicated to food research each year, but that research often takes a long time to trickle down to information consumers can really use. I think we all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables and probably shouldn’t consume an entire bag of snack-sized chocolates, at least not in one sitting.
When it comes to marketing food with benefits, weeding through the science can be a daunting task.
Here’s an example on the science front from one of our clients. One well-researched and proven natural plant compound which has anticancer activity, sulforaphane, is readily available to everyone in its precursor (sulforaphane glucosinolate, often referred to as SGS) from broccoli sprouts. These sprouts are available in fresh produce sections of supermarkets. And let me tell you, they are great on salads and in sandwiches.
The real question is, do we, the consumer, care?
I attended Naturally Boulder’s Spring Fling last month and heard Michael Funk, chairman of the board for UNFI, a multibillion-dollar company and the largest publicly traded U.S. wholesaler of natural and organic products, speak about trends in functional foods. He said foods within the probiotics/superfruits category are selling very strongly. Gluten-free is also expanding into more categories. He pointed out that people are buying natural and organic for their babies before they buy for themselves. I must raise my hand and say “guilty” on that front. Actually, I think my dogs eat better than I do too.
But what really struck me was when he admitted that media attention is really driving awareness, creating trends and changing consumers’ eating habits.
Who wasn’t sold on milk after the “Got Milk?” campaign exploded on the scene in 1993? I think the campaign has lasted longer than the Energizer Bunny. The fruit and veggie industry should learn from this cornerstone campaign. As marketers, we can’t just sell the science. Science is the proof point but we need to do a better job of telling a story and close the distance from the field to the fork. Consumers are listening.
We all want to eat healthier and do the right thing for our families.
Last fall, GroundFloor Media conducted a media training session for The Children’s Hospital with several nationally known obesity/health and wellness experts. We also interviewed staff from the trenches. When Renee Porter, obesity clinical nurse coordinator, was up, she gave us a tip: “Don’t drink your fruits and vegetables. Drink your milk.” Sounds like a brilliant consumer marketing campaign to me. And I believe the science can back it up.