Following the excess of Christmas and the good resolve of New Years Resolutions, the beginning of the year is traditionally a time for detox, diets and healthy eating and drinking.
Some people’s resolutions won’t last through January, others might make it to Easter, but there is a growing number of consumers, for whom healthy eating is fast becoming a way of life.
Chris McDonough, marketing and R D director of M uuml;ller UK, says: “More people are becoming aware of the need to adopt a healthier diet. Independent consumer research shows that in 2007, 59% of consumers claimed to be trying to eat more healthily and said that they were careful about what they ate in order to control their shape compared with 41% in 2003, and the percentage who said that they don’t worry about what they eat had dropped by a third from 30% to 20%. Those that are aware are consciously seeking to adapt their eating habits, but many are finding it difficult to make the step change and there’s a great deal of confusion with a lot of people floundering in the mass of information, misinformation and folklore about food and health.”
M uuml;ller is adding a chocolate ‘treat’ style fat free line to its M uuml;llerlight range, the Vanilla sprinkled with Dark Chocolate.
McDonough says: “With New Year resolutions and consumers’ intentions to adopt a healthier lifestyle at their peak in January, it represents a prime opportunity to highlight the message that you can ‘Eat Happily Ever After’ in the knowledge that M uuml;llerlight is fat free, made with real fruit and contains as much calcium as a glass of milk.”
According to Yoplait, it is the only brand in the lower fat CYD (chilled yogurts and desserts) sector, which is worth pound;55m, that has delivered continuous growth of market share over the last two years, making it the number two branded product with 22% value share of the sector.
Hayley Roth, Weight Watchers senior brand manager at Yoplait, says: “The Weight Watchers brand is performing extremely well where our competitors are struggling. A key reason is that we continually refresh the range, providing the variety that consumers seek. The latest example of this is the Prune Yogurt, launched in September. This is underpinned by the strong brand values, trust and loyalty associated with the Weight Watchers brand.”
According to Mintel, increasingly, food that does not make you fat is being taken for granted and the future for food that actually does something positive for the consumer looks bright. However, the functional food industry needs to remain aware of the distinction between food and medicine and the consumer’s natural aversion to too much science and desire for more ‘natural’ ingredients.
Last year Danone launched its dessert brand Activia Intensely Creamy in an aim to take the functional yogurt brand upmarket.
Corinne Chant, marketing manager of Activia, says: “We had a twin objective of recruiting new consumers to Activia, while increasing the rate of purchase by current Activia users. Regular Activia consumers tend to eat a pot at breakfast time and then possibly another after lunch or as a snack later in the day. Activia Intensely Creamy creates an extra usage occasion for them as an after dinner dessert and at only 3% fat offers ‘better for you’ indulgence. Our key focus however is to attract new consumers to the brand, these are mainly women over the age of 30 who many occasionally experience mild digestive bloating, but haven’t tried the brand yet. This may be because they don’t realise that Activia can help them or they may even be sceptical about the taste. Our vision if for Activia to become the number one brand in the chilled yogurts and desserts category.”
Andy Thompson, brand manager of Appletiser, says: “Consumers want more than a diet soft drink to help achieve a balanced lifestyle. They want a soft drink that has no hidden nasties but tastes great too. Appletiser over delivers on this, providing adults and indeed the whole family, with a better for you soft drink that contains no added sugar, preservatives or colourants and counts as one of your five a day.”
According to Appletiser, it is one of the few carbonated drinks that has dramatically benefited from governmental legislation regarding schools. The Appletiser, Peartiser and Grapetiser 330ml can is now in 750 educational sites across the UK.
It adds that in contrast to many other adult soft drinks Appletiser contains 100% fruit juice.
According to Danone Waters, the total bottled water segment is currently worth over pound;590m in annual sales and it is the biggest bottled water manufacturer with its brand accounting for almost 40% of total bottled water sales and its products continue to perform well in the wholesale channel.
Danone suggests wholesalers can make the most of the bottled water opportunity by maximising floor space and using displays to highlight key brand and increase stock holding, particularly during key seasonal periods. Giving information is another idea, offering advice on merchandising, promotions to customers, highlighting promotions and deals and being aware of secondary placement and solution merchandising.
Danone is again running its Detox campaign across Evian. The campaign features Evian Detox packaging and a strapline ‘60% of you is made of water – every drop counts’.
The marketing campaign is targeting consumers going back to work after the festive celebrations.
Nick Britton, brand manager of Evian, says: “Our annual Detox campaign just goes from strength to strength, and we’re encouraging consumers to get into a healthy habit. We thoroughly recommend retailers stock up with Evian not just at the start of the year for our annual Detox campaign, but all year round to take advantage of the valuable profit opportunity on offer.”
This is the ninth year that the campaign has been running.
According to Heinz, Weight Watchers from Heinz has a 50% share of the healthy frozen ready meal (FRM) market – worth pound;45m. Value sales of its FRMs are up by 40% and volume by 52% year on year. Penetration levels are at an all time high with an additional 936,000 more households buying Weight Watchers from Heinz FRMs this year than last. And Weight Watchers from Heinz is growing at 21.7% in value and 11.7% in volume.
A new addition to the range has been the range of Oriental-inspired dishes. Ian McCarthy, marketing manager of Weight Watchers from Heinz, says: “The Oriental FRM sector is worth pound;35m, however we know that for consumers watching their weight Chinese dishes can be a no-no due to their high fat content. Now, Weight Watchers from Heinz has expertly combined all the irresistible flavours, crunchy vegetables and mouth-watering sauces that make Chinese dishes such a treat.
“Weight Watchers from Heinz is a trusted low calorie brand with very strong loyalty levels. The key for a successful low calorie brand is to provide a wide variety of products so that consumers don’t get bored and so tempted by less healthy options.”
Ed Culf, marketing director of General Mills UK, says: “The first few months of 2009 will be the time when even more consumers become health conscious because it is the traditional period when people want to counter the excesses of the festive season and we’ll see a spike in sales of healthier products.
“For some people however, particularly young families, healthy eating is a year-round commitment and they’ll be looking for ‘cupboard essentials’ – products that are tasty, versatile and healthy. And brands such as Green Giant, which provides mums with a great way to give kids one of their five-a-day, can help them achieve that goal.”
In August 2008 the Green Giant Soups were launched as a way to provide consumers with another way to achieve five-a-day and Green Giant will be supported with a pound;5.7m marketing investment package during 2009.
Another General Mills brand, Natural Valley, is aiming to introduce consumers to more nuts with the launch of its Roasted Almond to join the rest of the Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar range.
Culf says: “Our consumer insight programme tells us that whole foods such as nuts are high on the agenda for an increasing number of people who are seeking to supplement their diet. New flavours are a key driver of trial of products in the healthy snack bar category. Our research indicates that shoppers find new flavours hugely motivating.”
United Biscuits UK says that while January sees a natural peak in healthier products, the healthier eating trend is not a passing phase; it has become a way of life with sales of healthier products continuing throughout the year and not just during seasonal periods. An example of this is the continued growth of go ahead.
The go ahead range from UBUK is benefiting from a pound;3m re-launch which aims to improve shelf standout and consumer appeal. The packaging will display GDA labelling on front of pack.
Nick Stuart, commercial manager of UBUK, says: “The go ahead range is perfect for wholesalers looking to capitalise on the healthier eating trend. In 2008 retailers have benefited from the memorable advertising campaign, a campaign we will be repeating early in 2009 for a sustained period. The New Year sees the biggest demand for healthier snacking alternatives and wholesalers should be ready to offer their customers the products that satisfy this consumer need.”
UBUK recently reduced the saturated fat levels by 50% in McVitie’s Digestives, McVitie’s HobNobs and McVitie’s Rich Tea.
Stuart says: “Some consumers don’t want to make a conscious decision about buying and eating healthier products. They’re looking for nutritional improvements in their old favourites. They want the manufacturers to make every effort to produce products that fit into their daily lives and help achieve a healthier balance.”
Lucy Overton, category manager of Ryvita, says: “Health awareness is a significant issue; people are becoming more health conscious. Recent figures show that more than 80% of people feel that it is important to eat healthily, up from 72% in 2004, and less people feel confused by nutritional labelling. January is a key time for Ryvita as consumers look for a healthier New Year lifestyle. Ryvita’s consumers are sensible balancers – they understand what constitutes living a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet but are not willing to sacrifice taste, or their snacking habits.”
Last year Ryvita launched its Limbos, a baked crispy snack, which, according to Ryvita, have 90% less fat than regular crisps.
Overton continues: “The wholesale channel is a vital route to market for the independent trade. At Ryvita we are continually working to ensure the ideal healthy snacking products are available in the wholesale channel. There is further opportunity for wholesalers to educate retailers in the importance of healthier snacking, ranging and store layout, which will help maximise sales opportunities.”
Richard Evans, managing director of Walkers, says: “Walkers Baked has been the most successful new product launch in the crisps and snacks category in the last three years. It is now the biggest better-for-you brand in the category and is central to Walkers’ plans to accelerate growth to the category, making it a winner for retailers and consumers alike. Walkers Baked proves to consumers that healthy choices can taste fantastic. We knew Baked would be an instant hit, but the phenomenal and ongoing success is not only contributing to the growth of the Walkers Baked brand, it is hugely incremental to the category as a whole.”
PepsiCo launched Walkers Baked in 2006 with an aim to redress the ‘low fat means tasteless consumer misconception’. They are baked not fried and Walkers say they contain 70% less fat than regular crisps.
Another PepsiCo brand in the ‘better for you’ section is SunBites. which is made with whole wheat, whole oats and whole corn and is worth pound;10m according to Walkers.
Evans says: “Our research shows that 41% of consumers are actively seeking more natural alternatives to meet their snacking needs and now we are driving SunBites penetration with a raft of activity. It has repeat purchase rates of 37% and a sector share of 14%.
“This is an area that is still very much under-developed, but we believe we can drive penetration of SunBites this year by targeting those consumers who are actively seeking more natural alternatives to their usual snack products.”
=== Magners light ===
Richard Barnes, brand manager at Magners, says: “Clearly alcohol is not good for you per se, however there are consumers who are looking for an alcoholic drink which is not as bad for them and meets different consumption occasions and consumer needs.”
Magners Light has recently been launched nationally and it has 92 calories per 330ml bottle, but is still 4.5% ABV. It is being supported with a national advertising campaign, aiming to drive development of this category for the trade.
Barnes says: “2008 has been a challenging year for LAD (long alcoholic drinks) brands. We have developed our strategy and expanded our offering, both with new SKUs and human resource within the wholesale channel.
“We have worked with some fantastic wholesale partners who are very proactive and forward thinking. One area which has been improved and needs to continue to do so, is the actual outlets themselves. They need to be more appealing to visit, better merchandised and signposted for customers with navigation enhanced.”