Food Marketing: Evidence-Based Health Messaging Increases Sales

Consumers are more health and nutrition savvy than ever before, thus requiring food companies, grocery stores, and restaurants to change their food marketing methods. Enticing the consumer to buy is a priority but developing messaging that reflects the science and nutritional impact of the food product is vital to maintaining consumer trust.

Maximize Your Food Advertising Budget

The Rudd Center at the University of Connecticut reports that food and beverage companies and restaurants spend nearly $14 billion annually in advertising. To maximize that food advertising investment, marketing efforts should include developing messaging centered on evidence-based health information. Here’s why:

In addition to factors like taste, convenience, sustainability, and price — health and nutrition benefits help sell food products.

According to the 2021 International Food Information Council Food and Health Survey, consumers are very interested in the health benefits of the food products they purchase. In fact, 54% of consumers report that nutrition claims and front-of-the-pack messaging help decide which products to choose. 

Identifying how your brand meets the consumer needs is obviously a crucial part of business development but tying that plan to evidence-based health and nutrition messaging is equally important.

Tap Into Food and Nutrition Experts

The US Dietary Guidelines provide the path for planning menus and developing food products that support and promote good health. Most shoppers report they are familiar with the Dietary Guidelines and actively seek health benefits from food that reflect the current dietary guidelines. Still, there is no denying that consumers are confused and have questions.

One way to ensure that your brand focuses on the evidence of what we should eat for health is by partnering with food and nutrition experts to develop and relay accurate health messaging. Nutrition experts, like registered dietitians, understand the science and can effectively translate it to consumers. As such, food and nutrition experts are a valuable resource in the marketing of food and a vital, trusted link between you and your customers. 

Building and delivering brand messages around evidence-based nutrition guidance like the US Dietary Guidelines not only demonstrates how your brand fits into consumers’ eating plans but it also provides a trust and value component. It implies that your food and beverage company is concerned about the health and wellbeing of your customers. 

Grab the Consumer with Food Label Messaging

In their 2021 consumer survey on the impact of food labels, the International Food Information Council found 54% of shoppers between the ages of 18 and 80 feel that the front of pack (FOP) and the Nutrition Facts panel are equally important in making their food purchases.

What’s more, eight out of ten shoppers indicated strong support for third-party symbols, checks, or other types of endorsement from health-focused groups. The level of trust indicated for support from health-focused groups like American Diabetes or American Heart Associations was 92%, while trust in food companies was 81%.

Key points of guidance to food, beverage, and restaurant brands include: 

  • Ensure your FOP messaging ties to the nutrition benefits of the product.
  • Provide messaging that succinctly highlights key nutrition benefits and is clear to consumers.
  • Consider working through your multiple brand lines to ensure consistent FOP labels.
  • Discuss a more consistent use of and symbol for FOP labeling with industry partners.

Food Marketing that Sells

Consumers look to food and beverage companies and restaurants for quality products that are good for them, and they value and appreciate health-related food advertising they can trust. Connecting your brand name to evidence-backed health information delivers a promise to your consumers. It indicates your brand is there to provide them with enjoyable, nutritious food options that also promote health benefits — and that translates into increased sales for you.

For example, I worked with Sara Lee®, as they rolled out their White made with Whole Grain bread and then their Delightful’s brands. The white made with whole grain bread provided a whole grain option for those who were not ready to make the switch to a 100% whole grain bread. The good news is that boosting whole grain, of any amount, is a step in the right direction. The addition of the Delightful brand, gave consumers a lower calorie, whole grain bread. As the RD advising them on both, I helped them craft nutrition messages which I then collaborated with them to share.

As a registered dietitian who specializes in food industry marketing, communications, and media work, I have worked with brands like Unilever®, Sara Lee®, and Lions Choice® to hone their health marketing messages and increase sales. Please contact me if I can help your marketing team develop and deliver evidence-based health and nutrition messaging for your food or beverage products.

About Connie Connie is a Registered Dietitian with extensive experience communicating in the food and nutrition space. Taking the science of food and nutrition and translating it to simple messages, new products, or exciting menus is her expertise. Making nutrition messages clearaccurate, and engaging aids all consumers.

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