A message from your product: My new year’s resolutions

If your product was a person, what would its new year’s resolution be?

We know products need a function or to serve a purpose. We buy food and drinks to satisfy hunger, meet nutrition needs, indulge a craving or [insert the many other social and emotional functions of food here].  What if in 2017 your product had a greater purpose beyond being just something to eat? What if, for all of 2016 the true purpose of your product has lain hidden or dormant, unknown to those who pass it buy on the shelves, menu boards or virtual aisles?

So what would your product’s new year’s resolution be (beyond the desire to jump off shelves)? What would give true meaning to the purpose of the products we put hours, months and even years into developing, producing and selling?

Dear developer, producer or marketer,

This year, like you, I want to be more, serve more and have a greater purpose. To help me realise these ambitions have you ever thought about:

Revealing my true talents?

Do you know where your product has a unique nutrition or health benefit? And more importantly, do consumers know?

These unique nutrition benefits could include:

  • Nutritional composition that address a particular nutrient of concern. That is, one that the public needs more or less of, or that is a consumer concern – think less saturated fat or sodium, or more calcium or iron(1), or no added sugar.
  • Helping make eating foods like vegetables and dairy, that are lacking in most Australian diets1, easier or more enjoyable.
  • Ingredients that address a consumer health concern such as, allergies, intolerances, or avoidance of certain foods or ingredients. In Asia-Pacific almost three-quarters of consumers’ report following a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of some foods or ingredients with less than 45% feeling like their needs are being met by current offerings(2).
  • Uses that support consumers in achieving their health goals such as, choosing healthy snack options, eating smaller portion sizes or cutting down on confectionary(3).

Sharing my heritage?

Consumers increasingly want to know more about where a product is from and how it is made. Does your product have a story that your customers would like to hear such as:

  • Artisanal production methods
  • Cultural heritage
  • Farm to fork story
  • Special steps taken to ensure quality or retain nutritional properties.

Baring all?

Transparency – I know it’s not new but, surprisingly there are very few businesses really taking advantage of this key consumer purchase consideration. By taking advantage I mean, truly answering consumer calls to understand what is in their food, by providing meaningful information that informs purchase decisions. A great place to start is to answer these questions:

  1. What ingredients are in this product?
  2. Where did they come from? This is most important for the key ingredients in your product or those that may have ethical, quality or safety concerns.
  3. Why is it in there? This is most important for ingredients that are not a core part of your product. Has it been added to give flavor? Or help with texture? Or some other function?
  4. How does the ingredient benefit consumers? This is especially relevant for food additives or ingredients that consumers would not ordinarily recoginse. While consumers may not like the idea of food additives, they do value certain quality, safety and convenience aspects of products.

For more on transparency check out my previous blog

Finding my perfect match

Does your product meet the nutrition and health needs of a certain group of consumers? These could be:

  • Parents
  • Dieters
  • Paleo tribes
  • Sugar quitters
  • Weekend warriors
  • Clean eaters.

This isn’t about changing your product rather; it’s about understanding if your product’s features align with the nutrition or health desires of these consumer groups. Then, most importantly, making sure you tell them all about it. We don’t all have time to scour the shelves identifying the products that are right for us – even through they could be right under our noses – don’t let your products soul mate cruise right by [cue music – Hello by Lionel Richie].


Kind regards,

Your product

Will you answer the call and let 2017 be the year your products true potential is realised?


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1.    Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). 4364.0.55.008 - Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

2.    The Nielsen Company (2016) What’s in our food and on our mind ingredient and dining-out trends around the world august. [Web document] http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2016-reports/global-ingredient-and-out-of-home-dining-trends-aug-2016.pdf

3.    IPSOS (2016) Key Trends 2015 – 2016 Food Chats [Web document] http://ipsos.com.au/food-facts-fiction-and-fads-how-australia-eats-thinks-about-and-shops-for-food/