SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

News > Manufacturers

Read more breaking news

 

 

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Clean label 2.0 and other top marketing strategies for natural products

By Elizabeth Crawford

24-Mar-2017
Last updated on 24-Mar-2017 at 14:40 GMT2017-03-24T14:40:37Z

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Top marketing strategies for natural products
Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Top marketing strategies for natural products
Loading the player...

When it comes to marketing products in the natural channel it seems like there are as many strategies as there are products; but just like how not all products resonate with all consumers, not all marketing strategies do either. 

At Natural Products Expo West in California this month, several major marketing trends stood out, including promoting clean labels, using free-from claims and plastering packages with a plethora of certification seals and badges that cover the gamut of issues. Walking the show floor it also was hard not to bump into bloggers, social media influencers and even a few lower-level celebrities who were there to promote brands – which really underscores the growing marketing power these groups have.

But how effective are these strategies at setting brands apart from the pack – especially if ostensibly everyone is using them?

In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast, Jeff Hilton, the chief marketing officer and co-founder of BrandHive, discusses the benefits and shortcomings of these and other popular marketing trends used in the natural channel.

First on the docket is the clean label trend, which began several years ago as a movement to simplify products and remove unnecessary or undesirable ingredients, such as artificial colors and flavors. But over time, this trend has grown to include much more and continues to evolve so that industry is now on the cusp of what Hilton calls clean label 2.0.

Currently, “consumers are interested in what we call clean, but what they would call simple, renewable, more visible or transparent,” Hilton said. He explains that this demand in part grew out of consumers’ rising awareness about health and prevention and their ability to track their progress with wearable devices.

“All these things combined, in my mind, presents what I call consumer 2.0, which is a consumer who is really engaged and really informed, but totally confused and overwhelmed,” Hilton said. As a result, they are looking for products that are simple and made from ingredients that can be found in their kitchens.

“We as marketers have to translate that consumer language and need into what our products can deliver on and that is where the connection happens, and that is the connection that I don’t think is totally happening at this point,” he said.

The emergence of Clean 2.0

This focus on the ingredient deck is what Hilton calls Clean 1.0, and while these demands are not going away they are quickly dissolving as points of differentiation from a marketing perspective, and instead becoming attributes that are simply expected, especially by millennials and younger generations.

And as this happens, Hilton says, a Clean 2.0 is emerging.

“I think 2.0 clean is going to have much more to do with the process leading up to the sourcing behind the label. So, you have got the label and the simplicity and I think consumers’ antennas are up on that, but I think the whole story of fair label, fair trade … is what clean label 2.0 will look like,” he said.

The increasing role of users to promote brands

As consumer marketing demands evolve, Hilton says so too must manufacturers’ techniques for delivering that information. He says that marketers can’t simply tell consumers what to believe and expect them to blindly follow. Instead, they need to forge a stronger connection with consumers to the point that they will actually advocate for the brand.

“The paradigm has shifted. Consumers are getting their information from user generated content, I call it. It is things they read from peers,” or on websites such as Amazon that feature user reviews, he said.

“User generated content is what it is all about. People want to hear about what people are doing who don’t have a vested interested in the brand,” he explained.

This trend significantly diminishes the role of spokespeople, who consumers might view as a “paid shill” that does not bring credibility to the brand, he added.

Micro-marketing is the future

Tapping bloggers and micro-influencers also allows companies to more easily position products to meet the specific needs of different sub-populations, which Hilton says is critical for gaining mass market appeal.

“You can’t just take one product and say, ‘It is for everybody! What do you think? It does all these things!’ because millennials will use the same product for different reasons” than a baby boomer, he said.

As such, Hilton explained that he increasingly advises clients to micro-market. “Match a product with a particular segment and not try to appeal to everybody because I think fall in the cracks now adays when you try to talk to everybody because you don’t talk to anybody,” he said. “Segmentation is the name of the game today. It is matching that product with that audience.”

How useful are certifications?

Finally, Hilton talked about another marketing trend that is so pervasive that it is hard to ignore, but also hard to judge in terms of efficacy. And that is certifications and all the tiny icons that come with them that often line the front and sides of product packages.

“There is worth in them, but putting 20 symbols on your website, I think that brands are smarter to use fewer certifications and education about what the mean and what they are,” he said, noting that even with a certification as popular and prevalent as for non-GMO doesn’t mean consumers understand what genetic modification is, let alone what it means to be free from it.

“The symbols have limited value unless you illustrate what that means to the consumer,” which can be done easily on the product website or on social media, he said.

Ultimately, Hilton says, the key takeaway from all these marketing trends is that manufacturers cannot become stuck in how they communicate with consumers. The consumer is constantly evolving and so too must the messages manufacturers present and the way they tell their stories.

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: grain-free vs ancient grain trends

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Gluten free movement spawns divergent grain-free vs ancient grain trends

As the tenacious gluten-free trend continues to grow and mature into a market behemoth...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Agency enforcement and litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: FDA & FTC move forward with enforcement even with some regulations in limbo

New regulations and draft guidances may be on hold at many federal agencies until...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast create challenges, opportunities for CPGs

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day, but...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers buy them

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers are buying them is evolving

US consumers are snacking more than ever, according to IRI data, but an analyst...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of war on sugar

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of the war on sugar

Despite significant headwinds generated by the escalating war on sugar and increasing consumer preferences...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce with omnichannel marketing

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce sales with an omnichannel marketing approach

Sales of food and beverage online may be lagging significantly behind those of other...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa steal kale's top superfood spot?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa knock kale out of the top superfood spot?

For years kale has reigned supreme as the go-to superfood for many Americans thanks...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Fair Trade certification tackles coconut supply

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Could Fair Trade certification help avoid a coconut shortage?

Ever since coconut water burst on to the US market several years ago, Americans...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

The number of class action cases filed against food and beverage companies continues to...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Threats to bees threaten whole food industry

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Industry stakeholders seek to take the sting out of threats to bees’ health

Spring has finally sprung, which means birds are chirping, crops are blooming and bees...

Paleo followers fuel brand awareness, sales for compliant products

Passionate paleo followers can fuel brand awareness, sales for compliant packaged products

Between 1 to 3 million people in the United States follow the paleo diet,...

Baldor Specialty Food's efforts to cut food waste are adding money

Baldor Specialty Foods' efforts to cut food waste are adding money

As the issue of food waste rises in prominence in the US, industry players...

Organic industry asks for funds to expand production, oversight

Organic industry asks legislators for funds to expand domestic production & increase oversight

More than a hundred representatives for the organic industry descended on Capitol Hill in...

Standardized language for expiration dates will help reduce food waste

Standardized language for expiration dates should help reduce food waste, according to GMA

According to the nonprofit Feeding America, 126 billion pounds of food is wasted each...

Vox Pop: In sports nutrition, 'usually just protein'

Vox Pop: 'Protein, and that's pretty much it actually'

Sports nutrition is a booming industry, with Euromonitor estimating a value of $7.4bn in...

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industry

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into the competitive food and beverage industry

Launching a food business takes more than secret family recipe – it also takes...

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Marcia Pires

polymer science researcher , Braskem

How to shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice

Could the biotech disclosure law help shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice?

In many ways, the conversation about GMOs has been a debate about good versus...

SmartLabel helps brands meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

SmartLabel gains traction as a tool for brands to meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

While SmartLabel is still in its relative infancy, manufacturers are flocking to the technology...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...

Live Supplier Webinars

Food Innovation editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
Optimizing California Almonds for Plant-Forward Formulations
Almond Board of California

On demand Supplier Webinars

FoodNavigator-USA Flavor Trends editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
FoodNavigator-USA Clean Label editorial webinar
William Reed Business Media
All supplier webinars