Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nutrition Trends

Now here is a refreshing trend - the move towards healthier eating. The American Dietetic Association recently released the results of their "Nutrition and You: Trends 2008" which was conducted earlier this year. The study separated people into 3 groups based on their attitudes on maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. The groups were "I am Already Doing It" (people who believe in maintaining healthy eating habits and regular exercise and trying to life that lifestyle); "I Know I Should" (people who believe in maintaining healthy eating habits and getting regular exercise are very important, but may not have taken steps to achieve this lifestyle), and "Don't Bother Me" (people who are least concerned with healthy nutrition and regular exercise and are not making an effort to life a healthy lifestyle). Since 2002 there has been a definite decrease in the latter group. There is a shift towards taking more interest and even action towards a healthier nutrition and exercise routine. 40% of people now report that they actively seek information about nutrition and healthy eating, which is up from 19% in 2000.

Why is this important to you? Because your consumer wants knowledge and they want help as they try to feed their families healthier foods. They want to know how to fit the products they love into a healthier lifestyle. You can talk about the nutritional benefits of your product on pack, on the web or in your advertisements. You can show consumers how to incorporate your products into a healthier diet for their families by featuring nutritionally balanced recipes on pack or on your product website (don't forget to include that nutritional information at the bottom of your recipes!).

Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying you should totally change your brand positioning to be a health brand if that is not who your brand is. What I am just advocating is that your brand keep up the the healthier lifestyle trends that consumers - find ways to fit in. Help educate your consumers on how your products can fit. You can also keep nutritional benefits in mind as you develop new products to launch. Give consumers lots of reasons to believe in your brand.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Home Entertaining

One trend that is definitely here to stay is home entertaining. It started back at 9/11 when folks just wanted to stay home and be with their families. It has since expanded to more of a home entertaining trend. People are no longer just nesting with their closest family members, they are enjoying hosting friends and extended family members in their homes. And whether is family game night, a formal sit down meal with neighbors or a gathering of the boys for a Sunday football game, you know there will be food and drinks there. (Americans rarely get together without sharing food!) Now this poses an interesting dilemma for most people. People love hosting other people in their homes, there needs to be food and drinks to share with guests, but most people have plain gotten out of the habit of cooking (unless you count microwavable meals and popcorn or course!) and don't know how to put together a spread for their guests to enjoy.

Luckily for us, for ever consumer dilemma there is an awesome opportunity for someone to come in with a solution. For this particular dilemma the opportunity goes to branded food products to come in and save the day by providing super simple semi-homemade recipes, tips and tricks. Now if make those recipes and ideas seasonally relevant you have really created something of value for consumers! Let me give you an example. Suppose you make slice and bake sugar cookie dough. This holiday season you could feature a recipe for Stain Glass Sugar Cookie Ornaments. (So super simple - use the premade sugar cookie dough and hard candies to make the stain glass cookies. While the cookies are still warm use a straw to make a hole at top then just add some ribbon and your consumers have created something they can proudly call their own at their next holiday party!) Let me give you another example. Suppose you make salsa. Why not wish everyone a Feliz Navidad with a simple microwave queso dip recipe? The recipe could be a simple as your branded salsa, a melting cheese and a can of chopped little green chilies melted together in the microwave safe bowl!

It is really easy to do but is does take just a little planning a head of the season to come up with recipes and appetizing photos you want to feature. So think ahead - what is the next season people might want to enjoy a dish made with your product - Superbowl, Easter dinner, 4th of July picnic....the possiblities are endless! Then decide how are you going to communicate your fabulous recipe idea - on pack, website, POS materials, etc? Just make sure you get your recipe ideas out there - consumers are hungry for easy entertaining ideas!