Social Media Communication For Health Food Innovations

6 January, 2020

Social media communications for health food innovations can be divided into two phases. In phase 1, you lay a strong foundation, by building a product that can be backed by strong claims and social media communication messages. In phase 2, you leverage the claims and communication messages to create social media talking points. Let’s take a closer look at each of these phases.

Phase 1: Lay The Foundation For Social Media Communication 

When you think ‘Health Food Innovations’, think ‘Claims & Communications’.  The two go hand-in-hand. In fact, think of a base product and then list potential claims & communication messages. Once your list is ready, work backwards and build a product from base up to support your claim & communication message list. For example, if you are creating a grain-based bar with fibre, your claim list could include the following:

When you think ‘health food innovation’, think ‘claims & communication’. List claims and communication first and then build product formulation.

Content Claims

-Rich in dietary fibre
- 5g of dietary fibre per serve
- 20% of your daily fibre needs
- As much fibre as 1.5 small apples or 1.5 bowls of brown rice.

Functional Claims

-Fibre helps maintain regularity
-Fibre-rich foods help fill you up; and when consumed with a calorie-controlled meal plan and regular exercise, it can help support weight management.

Other Claims

Competitor product formulation and claim scoping is also important for defining advantaged product formulations and differentiated claims. For example, if competitors products have 3g fibre per serve on average, you could claim ‘more fibre than most bars*’ if you have 25% more fibre than the leading players in the market.
*xx leading players in the market were surveyed.

Additional differentiated claims that could be considered are:

-x% of the population is deficient in dietary fibre and each bar provides 20% of your daily fibre needs.
-You could also take the claims to another level with clinical research to claim, ‘With a unique fibre blend for optimized gut health’; or ‘double the fibre benefit for a healthy gut’. In this case, the research study would have to confirm that the two to three types of fibre you used, had a beneficial impact on growth of health-promoting bacteria.

Defining the research strategy is of essence at stage 1, so that you can build a product that is likely to deliver research results. A research study is expensive from a cost and time stand-point, but it can help create new news. And new news is important, as it is likely to motivate existing consumers to stay loyal; and bring in new consumers who value gut health.

Use claims & communication messages that resonate with consumers for social media conversations.

Once your claim list has been approved by the nutrition and regulatory teams, build concepts and test key claims with consumers, to determine which ones resonate with them. This exercise is super important, as it will help you understand which claims and communication messages to focus on, during your two-way social media communication with consumers.

Phase 2: Social Media Communication Execution

In phase 2, once the product has been developed and launched, you start the 2-way communication with your consumers and take them from awareness to adoption stage:

Stage 1: Awareness

You create awareness about the product with an advertisement, short news story online or in a newspaper, or post product information in a chat group. Direct mail or product sampling at supermarkets or weekend markets can also be leveraged to create awareness about the product.

Stage 2: Interest

Upload all product information – i.e., the nutrition profile, claims and benefits, and product brochures on the website; and get bloggers to write articles about the product online. All content should be SEO optimized for ease of find, as many people are likely to actively seek information on the web. Product brochures or shelf talkers on supermarket shelves can also help create awareness.

Stage 3: Evaluation, Trial & Adoption

Online product reviews; recipes to guide usage; opinion of family and friends, and / or credible experts; is likely to guide trial and product adoption.

Most young consumers today, research new product feedback on Facebook, Instagram or even the vendors purchase site. As your consumer reads product reviews, he assesses: competitive advantage over the product he is replacing; compatibility with his needs; ease of use and frequency of use. In case of a food product, recipes on chat sites or You tube videos, comments on product usage are also likely to guide trial. Opinions of friends and family and credible experts e.g., a celebrity nutritionist, dietitian or chef, also carry considerable weight; and favourable comments usually result in long-term adoption, if the personal experience is positive.

In terms of adoption, word of mouth (WOM) is very powerful. Hence, you could consider giving out samples and product information at worksites or universities, with discount coupons for purchase at an online store or at a store in an office or university building. As office executives and students purchase the product and discuss success with product usage, it is likely that others will be motivated to try and adopt the product. In the case of the fibre-rich bar for example, stories about being able to meet daily fibre goals and regularity with the product, may motivate new consumers to purchase and adopt the product.


Communication in the social media world has made two-way communication with consumers possible, but it requires effort. The key is to get the health food innovation right first. And once you have a good product, you can chalk out a convincing story for robust online conversations with your consumers.

For An Additional Read 

Some interesting articles on social media communication that you may find useful include:

  1. How social media can impact your food consumption habits. By Andrew Arnold. Jan 14, 2019. You can find the article here.
  2. Social media and “Instagrammable” food: Millennial influencers – a virtual reality? Antoine Dauby. Sep 4, 2018. You can find the article here.