Stealthy marketing wins over fanfare
At the Australian FoodLegal Symposium, which took place on February 23, manufacturers and health experts alike called for food firms to take greater responsibility for creating healthier offerings, especially with regards to salt.
As manufacturers respond to these calls, the question then turns to how such efforts should be communicated. Unilever, for instance, has made significant strides in cutting out salt and trans fat from its products; however, its efforts have been accompanied by very little fanfare.
The strategy is an astute one, given the perceived lack of flavor of low-salt products, and inherent skepticism of corporations’ product claims.
Katrina Diamonon, Consumer Markets Analyst at Datamonitor says “While there can be no doubt that manufacturers should strive to improve their formulations, the way in which these improvements are communicated can significantly influence how consumers respond to them.”
It is not always necessary to promote reformulation efforts with extensive marketing and publicity, as consumers are already interested in nutrition information and will almost certainly discover the changes themselves.
Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to nutrition and reading food labels. For many consumers, health is the number one priority when choosing food, and they know how to identify products that are superior in terms of low salt, low sugar or low fat.
So it seems that today, a stealthy approach may indeed be one of the most effective ways to communicate a product’s health credentials.