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Understanding what motivates a buyer is the key to finding growth in health and wellness brands.

Since the biggest trend this decade is the increased focus on healthy living I have decided to look at positioning health and wellness brands. Whether the product is food, beverage, skincare, vitamins or pharmaceutical the design considerations are the same.

First, let’s look at what health and wellness means to different types of people:

  1. Traditionally it meant regular doctor and dental visits, minding your diet and getting some exercise;
  2. for some people is simply means to be free of disease, ailments or pain;
  3. or a proactive mental and physical awareness with a lifestyle that includes mindfulness, yoga, meditation and/or fasting;
  4. for others it is a healthy diet with nutritional choices which support the mantra ‘you are what you eat’;
  5. or a more general a view is to have youthfulness, personal hygiene, moderately active lifestyle and positive relationships.

Healthy living can mean one or all of the above.

Throughout the Asia Pacific region the trend towards health and wellness has seen growth in the past few years that is unprecedented. Infact the health and wellness category is growing at ‘twice the rate traditional foods and beverages internationally’ (DuPont Nutrition & Health March 2016). This is primarily due to the change in consumer mindsets, away from foods perceived to be processed and on a desire to look younger. Everywhere you look there are advertisements triggering you (particularly women) to ‘activate youthful vitality’. Whether it is choosing foods with antioxidants, jumping on the coconut phase, ordering a tumeric latte, adding activated charcoal to your juice, skincare with silica, CO Q10 and aloe vera or cooking with hemp seed oil – health and wellness brands are a growing focus in society today.

So where does this leave food and beverage manufactures? By analysing the category and consumer segments you may find growth in your own business – a new line, deleting non performers, new product development or even a new business segment like beauty, baby, sport nutrition or even household. Defining who are your primary and secondary target audience and then delivering what motivates these consumers to purchase is the KEY to finding growth in your business and in health and wellness brands. Let’s look at consumer segment types:

Mummy Gold: she wants to provide healthy choices for the family but is time poor and taste driven (by kids tastebuds). Once this consumer finds a ‘good’ product that the kids will eat she will rarely try something new – she is the gold star for loyalty but operates within a tight budget.

Goal Oriented: the consumer focuses on being healthy to control weight gain through better choices without sacrificing taste. ‘Diet’ foods are off trend but these consumers are willing to pay a bit more for no sugar, low carb, low fat, low calorie and portion control products. Given the national obesity problem this segment is huge.

Baby Boomers: 60+ seeking ways to help manage medical conditions for themselves and partners, sensitive about ageing and looking for products which provide peace of mind. Claims around low cholesterol, calcium, digestion and memory indicate this groups purchasing influencers.

The High Life: happy to monitor, maintain and improve their health these people are proactive about all areas of their health – food intake, movement, medical and enjoy delicious food. These consumers like to think they are healthy but also don’t sacrifice taste and are happy to pay a little more for quality.

Fancy Free: these peeps take ‘being healthy’ to another level. They mostly choose the ‘free from’ products, eat raw/vegan/vegeterian, put more effort into preparation and purchase less process foods. Not so much a food manufactureres dream but these guys are keen on organic foods and more open to the health stores pills, powders and potions.

Other smaller market segments such as the blissfully unaware or cash strapped hip youngsters are not included in my summary of the health and wellness category breakdowns.

Across these categories of ‘healthy’ consumers organic brands are generally preferred but often influenced by the price point and convenience of availability – or lack there of. Brands endorsed by Fair Trade, eco friendly, sustainable production/farming and locally sourced, go a long way with many consumers in the segments above. Be sure to always include at least one of these in all aspect of marketing health and wellness brands if possible.

Unfortunately decades of misleading labelling promises have produced a cohort of consumers who are cautious with their purchasing decisions, brands claiming to be ‘natural’ or ‘healthy’ are approached with a degree of skeptism today. Claiming to be ‘healthy’ or ‘a health product’ on packaging or labelling has no legal meaning but the Food Standards Code neither regulates nor defines this loose term. This is a grey area that is best avoided unless substantiated with evidence. The ‘do not mislead’ principle is what the ACCC uses to enforce the act. Whilst you do want to make accurate claims to assist product sales, ensure your claim is not too specific and will not mislead any consumer – especially the vulnerable members of society. When creating marketing material (packaging, advertising or website) it’s vital to consider the position of all your segment types not just your primary target audience.

At the AFGC Leaders forum last year Rod Sims (Chairman ACCC) said “the ACCC is cracking down on large businesses that make misleading health claims”.  Although his speech was targeting large manufacturers his point is valid for all, he continued to state that placing  “a ‘health halo’ on your product make sure you don’t create an overall impression that is likely to mislead”. If you make a claim ensure the statement is correct and the reference is accurate. Arnotts did not do this Rod expalined: “Arnott’s Biscuits Ltd provided a court enforceable undertaking and paid $51,000 in penalties following the issue of five infringement notices in relation to representations made on the packaging of its Shapes Light & Crispy products.”

The key to finding growth in health and wellness brands is in understanding what motivates your primary target audience and then creating product packaging design and marketing materials that speaks directly to them.

If that got you interest you may want to dive a little deeper into our Label Design Checklist?

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