We all know nutrition is important – we see it every week in the media – from the global obesity crisis to the latest diet, superfood or enemy de jour. So it’s no surprise that nutrition is now one of the top consumer concerns. How do you address the growing issue of nutrition and the consumer desires that surround it?
This is where the trouble starts, how do you address the often ill-defined, changing, and personal topic of nutrition? Not to mention balancing it with other consumer priorities – taste, convenience and value for money. Do you focus on the current food, ingredient or nutrient to avoid – sugar? Fat? Carbohydrates? Dairy? Artificial ingredients? What guidelines or targets do you use? And what if your customer’s health desires or intentions don’t align with their purchasing habits?
Out of this confusion there are numerous opportunities to meet consumer needs and desires by addressing nutrition. The best thing is, it’s not as hard as you think and it doesn’t have to mean changing your products. Follow these three steps and you can seize this opportunity:
1. Know your competitive nutrition advantage
Do you know where your product has a unique nutrition benefit or difference?
A competitive nutrition advantage is the nutrition feature of your product that meets a specific nutrition need or differentiates your product from the competition. The advantage could come from, the food, ingredients, nutrients, customer communications or even its use.
Identifying what this is, is your first step to addressing nutrition.
2. Understand the nutrition landscape
Step two is to understand the context of your competitive nutrition advantage. Key questions to consider are:
- What is it that customers want from your product based on its ingredients, eating occasion (breakfast snaking, lunch/dinner etc.) or setting (e.g. in-home vs. out of home)?
- What are the biggest nutrition concerns facing your customers?
- What is the media focussing on?
- What are regulators concerned about?
- Is there a gap in the market to better meet a customer nutrition need?
With this information you can leverage the current nutrition trends and customer nutrition needs to showcase the unique nutrition features of your product.
3. Take action
Reformulate your products to remove all sugar salt and saturated fat. NO – wait – I’m kidding (I bet that’s what you expected to hear). Although I wish it was as easy as that to explain. We know nutrition is a changing and fluid concept in the eyes of the consumer so it’s more nuanced than that. And actions need to reflect this if they’re going to truly address nutrition and have a sustainable impact for customer and businesses.
To take action take what you’ve identified in step one and two. That is take action to develop, talk about or promote the unique nutrition feature or your product and how it meets a need or priority within the landscape. Actions can range from simply providing nutrition or ingredient information to suggesting recipes or ideas for how to use your product to reach nutrition goals or development and reformulation to best support your desired nutrition benefit or feature. Whichever action you decide on here are some tips to make sure it works for your business:
- Take actions grounded in an evidence base and be aware of the longevity of that evidence base. For example, super foods may change year to year, nutrients and ingredients to avoid may have more longevity, healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are likely to always be nutritious.
- Know your regulatory limitations. Websites, blogs and some overseas products can make some very attractive and fantastical claims about foods – some of which are not aligned with the regulations for making nutrition claims in Australia.
- Avoid nutrition obfuscating or masking – that is giving a misleading perception or unbalanced view of your product based on a single nutrition feature or benefit.
Nutrition is often put in the too hard basket because of cost, access to expertise or the minefield that is nutrition. Customers are asking for it so why wouldn’t you do it? And with the three easy steps now you can.
Ready to find out your product's competitive nutrition advantage?
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