Many organizations launch a range of health food innovations. The challenge however, is that most of these innovations don't succeed beyond the first year launch phase. You may need to revisit your approach to these innovations. This article sheds light on the 4 essential steps that can help set you on a successful health food innovation track.
Step 1: Begin with health food innovation claims and communication; and marketing strategy
First, define what your health food innovation will look like and the claims and communication messages you will use, to engage with and keep your consumers engaged.
For this, you will have to work with your nutrition, regulatory and legal teams to define nutritionally sound, science-backed, regulatory approved claims and communication messages.You will also have to look at nutrition, regulatory and health trends; and competitors’ products, to create a list of differentiated claims and communication messages, which resonate with consumers.
Second, think about your health food marketing plan i.e., how will you communicate product benefits to the scientific community and consumers.
The overall messaging and content, and level of engagement and activation you will need, to explain health food benefits to your customers will all have to be considered. Communicating published product linked research, both current and future research, will also have to be listed here.
Once you have defined your product vision, claims and communication and the marketing strategy, for the health food innovation, step back and ask yourself, 'Can this product be backed by strong claims and communication messages, and a robust marketing strategy?'
If the answer is yes, think of product design and then chalk out your concepts. If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider your plan to launch the product.
Step 2: Assess price sensitivity at concept stage
Price assessment is a must include in the concept phase for the following reasons:
- Price assessment helps you determine, if the consumer can afford to pay the selling price you are proposing.
- It helps you define an ideal selling price and type of product, claims and communication you can afford to give your consumer.
If the selling price is considered too high, and you are planning to reduce the price, you will have to evaluate impact on product claims and communication.
If the product, claims and communication are all compromised, you may have to revisit concepts and test them again with consumers. Retesting is important, to ensure that you only test claims and communication messages that you can use on you pack.
Also, don’t dilute the product to fit your budget:
-as you will have to shift gears from the health fanatic or health conscious consumer as your target consumers, to the healthy food fence sitters, who may or may not buy your product, especially in the long term.
And bear in mind, that if you cannot deliver claims and communication messages, don't get tempted to compromise product, claims and communication, as without claims and communication messages, you will not be able to engage consumers effectively. With this, you will set yourself up for failure. has
To set yourself up for success:
Test price elasticity with consumers and consider increasing the proposed selling price. This may require a revisiting of target consumer and marketing goals. You may have to start out as niche first and then go mass. This strategy has worked for some products, e.g., Yakult in some markets, so you could consider it too.
WITH SOME HEALTH FOOD INNOVATIONS, YOU MAY HAVE TO START NICHE FIRST AND THEN GO MASS.
The challenge here, is that transition from niche to mass market will take time, and patience will be needed! The good news is that with strong claims and communication messages to engage consumers, this transition will occur. Also, if your health food innovation is truly healthy, it could be consumed daily. And a combination of daily intake plus niche may actually be quite profitable! So don't say 'no' to niche.
TRANSITION FROM NICHE TO MASS WILL TAKE TIME, BUT IT WILL OCCUR. ALSO, A NICHE PRODUCT CONSUMED DAILY, CAN BE PROFITABLE. SO DON'T SAY 'NO' TO NICHE.
Step 3: Concept test with the right consumer
Healthy food innovations cannot be sold to a mass market consumer. Target consumers who are serious about health and wellness, adopting a healthy diet & leading a healthy lifestyle.
THE KEY IS TO GO TO CONSUMERS WHO ARE SERIOUS ABOUT ADOPTING A HEALTHY DIET AND LEADING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
Here again, a fitness buff who is a college student may not have funds, but an employed young executive definitely will! Also, for additional profitability, target consumers who will use your product daily, as daily intake translates to more profits. So choose your consumer carefully. And yes, don’t forget to compile the conversations you have with different target groups during consumer research assessment, as it will help set the tone for the healthy lifestyle-linked blog & social media conversations you develop, to maintain consumer connection, loyalty and re-purchase later.
Step 4: Define health food innovation content and activation strategy to drive action
Work with your nutritionist, and cross functional teams, to define an integrated health food marketing strategy. The strategy should include right content, an integrated communication plan and activation strategy.
A healthy diet and lifestyle is likely to keep your consumer in the purchase, re-purchase mode. Engage consumers and motivate them to lead a healthy diet and lifestyle, through the product life cycle.
THE CONTENT SHOULD KEEP YOUR CONSUMER ENGAGED AND MOTIVATED TO LEAD A HEALTHY DIET & LIFESTYLE. IF THE CONSUMER BUILDS THE LINK BETWEEN YOUR PRODUCT & HIS HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, YOU WILL SUCCEED!
Health food marketing is not easy, but if your messaging is consistent & approach with use of different social media platforms is tightly integrated & your consumer builds the link between the product and his healthy lifestyle, you will succeed!
If you have a truly differentiated product that can be backed by strong claims and an integrated communication plan; the product price permits the delivery of a robust claim and communication strategy; and the target consumer believes in eating healthfully, you should be able to set yourself up for health food innovation success.
For An Additional Read
For more information on health food innovations, you can read the following articles: