2 December, 2019

Strong health food concepts can help you assess potential success rate for health food products in the market place. Hence, it is important to build robust health food concepts from ground up. For this, you need right consumer insights, credible nutritionally-sound and regulatory approved benefits, and an appropriate price point.

Following are 3 key steps to help you write strong health food concepts.

1. Health Food Concepts - Write Impactful Insights.

Targeted consumer studies should be able to provide information about what the consumer thinks, feels or believes about nutrients, ingredients, food groups and their overall diet and health status. Use this consumer data and potential product benefit information, to determine why the consumer is likely to need your product. In case of a health product, the consumer may be looking for a product that helps:

-combat nutrient deficiency or a food gap;

- alleviate health issues e.g., lower blood cholesterol, or maintain normal immune function;

- support functional benefits e.g., energize the body; or reduce stress;

-provide nutrients and or a food group in a convenient format.

This information can then be used to create insights for health food concepts. The insight should begin with ‘I’. For example, ‘I am a vegan and I feel that I may be deficient in important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and DHA’ – is a good insight from a vegan. This insight is probably suitable for a food manufacturer, who is looking at developing a fortified snack or beverage for vegans or maybe even vegetarians.

2. Health Food Concepts - List Approved Benefits That Resonate With Consumers

Benefit should start with ‘I’ if you are selling directly to your end consumer, or with ‘my child or baby’ if you are addressing a mom.

Health Food ConceptsBenefit essentially refers to the advantage or something positive that the product provides to the consumer. List all key benefits that the product is likely to contribute to the diet. Benefits should include all regulatory approved claims, that can be used on pack and on social media sites; and communication messages that can be used in social media. Sit with your nutrition, regulatory and legal teams to define the list of approved claims and communication messages. This exercise has two benefits. One, it will help you understand the extent to which your product solves a consumer’s problem. Two, you will be able to effectively gauge, whether the benefit and your communication message, resonates with the consumer.

DEFINE CLAIMS AND COMMUNICATION MESSAGES AT CONCEPT STAGE. IT WILL HELP YOU DETERMINE WHETHER THE PRODUCT EFFECTIVELY SOLVES A PROBLEM, AND ASSESS MESSAGE EFFICACY WITH CONSUMERS.

3. Health Food Concepts - Test Price Sensitivity

Test Price SensitivityHealthy foods which pack in the right level of nutrients and ingredients for strong claims, can be expensive. Hence, it is important to get the lowest possible selling price from the product developer, and to test the price point with the consumer. If the price point does not work, the developer will have to go back to the drawing board, for a more reasonable product. This also implies another round table discussion with nutrition, regulatory and legal teams, for a revised claim and communication message list. This list will have to be retested with consumers. during another round of consumer concept testing. And this is a good exercise, as the results will be able to accurately demonstrate, whether the product has a right to succeed in the market place.

HEALTHY FOODS CAN BE EXPENSIVE. HENCE, ITS IMPORTANT TO ASSESS PRICE SENSITIVITY WITH CONSUMERS AT CONCEPT STAGE.

Conclusion

If you are developing healthy food concepts, don’t be casual about it. A concept is really the best document to help you gauge the ability of the product to succeed in the market place.  So, you do have to get it right with a 3-step process from ground up. First, understand insights about the consumers problems. Second, compile a list of benefits which include regulatory approved claims and communication messages and check whether the benefits match the insights. And third, test price sensitivity, to determine if changes are needed in the product. Consumer acceptability of revised claims and communication messages will have to be rechecked with consumers, if cost-cutting changes are made to the product.

For more information on concept writing, you can read the article, 'How to write winning concepts' by Ideas to Go. 11 Nov, 2018. here.