We recently undertook a study to understand what consumers really wanted from the healthy snacking market, through an analysis of social conversations. The goal of this was to provide actionable insights that could inform brand, social and content strategies in 2023. By identifying true consumer needs, we can create campaigns that are truly relevant.
We established 5 key opportunities for brands;
- Utilize innovations
- Make healthy snacks fun for celebrations
- Co-create and convenience
- Differentiate to win all
- Communicate nutritional value
So who’s already doing this? And what inspiration can they lend to brands new into the healthy snacking space?
Below we run through 5 brands that use the opportunities outlined in our report as components of their successful strategies.
Named as one of the top 10 most innovative food companies of 2022 by The Fast Company, Oiishi uses vertical farming to grow Japanese strawberries in New York. However, you’ll likely know of them as the juicy strawberries making waves on TikTok and coming in at $50 per box of 8.
The purpose of the brand itself is rooted in utilizing innovations to improve the farming industry. But Oiishi have also leaned heavily into co-creation and influencer marketing as a growth strategy.
Selling directly to chefs is a core GTM channel, and working with much loved brands for food collaborations has been another sales and marketing tactic. Such as the limited valentine’s day topping they created for ice cream favorite, Van Leewen.
Influencer content has included sending strawberries to chefs, lifestyle influencers and small food service businesses around their key locations, New York and LA – such as L’Appartement 4F in Brooklyn. These influencers record their ‘taste test’ or use the strawberries as an ingredient in a new recipe.
It’s all part of a very focussed strategy to make strawberries (and we assume vertical farming) on trend by being the very best.
7 Eleven vegan breakfast
According to a Nielson study, in 2022 39% of Americans claimed that whilst their diet is not strictly plant based, they are eliminating as many animal products as possible, and aim to one day be vegan. So it’s no surprise that convenience brands like 7 Eleven and Burger King are offering vegan alternatives.
7 Eleven’s first vegan breakfast item on its ‘to-go’ menu uses three different well known brands for its ingredients; JUST eggs, Impossible burger and Violife’s cheddar. This is currently available across 550 stores in Canada.
Burger King has also developed a co-creation with leading vegan brand ‘Impossible’ for its vegan burger offering. A great example of utilizing the brand equity of a known and credible vegan brand – ensuring reliable sales and taste.
Target and Tabitha Brown partnership
An example of co-creation with cultural influencers, is the Tabitha Brown range at Target. What started off as a clothes line, now includes a homeware collection and vegan food range.
A unique element of the branding is the positioning that is centered around vibrancy, socializing and fun, with the vegan factor simply a footnote. It’s this combination of ‘healthy focus’ (veganism), teamed with the suggestion it is for a social setting that sets out a differentiated space in the market for this range.
Our research found that people want healthy and sustainable food to still be fun and part of big life celebrations. And the creative across digital platforms for this partnership is a great example of this.
Whilst some brands are exploring how to make healthy ingredients and trends more mainstream, Unreal aims to make traditional treats better for you. The 10 year old brand was started by a father and son who wanted to make chocolates that you could feel better about.
With some well known investors (Tom Brady) and some very early influencer videos they have grown a million dollar brand that sells fun, sharing style chocolate with simple ingredients and less sugar.
Communicating nutritional values is a core element of their packaging and branding. They do this in a clear educational way through comparisons, ‘365 less sugar than leading nut butter cup’, and bold iconography.
But they don’t let nutritional values eclipse the taste of the product, which is central to the branding; ‘And the taste is UNREAL!’
Influencer content has remained a core tactic within their marketing strategy, with recipe collabs with micro influencers.
We’re seeing similar tactics deployed by emerging brands in the sweets category, such as Smart Sweets, ‘Kick Sugar, Keep candy’ and the Cereal category, with brands such as OffLimits Cereal ‘GF, Vegan & offensively delicious cereal’.
Our research found that Nestlé was the number one most mentioned brand in healthy snacking conversations, due to their commitment to healthy alternative innovations.
R&D teams are focussed on plant based, dairy free and affordable nutrition which has led to new products such as ‘Gourmet Gardens Vuna’ fish alternatives.
Starbucks was also highly mentioned, with customers trying to recreate their favorite store items at home in a healthier way. As a partner for the distribution of at home and ready to drink items, Nestle expanded the Starbucks creamer range to include non dairy alternatives less than a year after the range launch.
Embracing healthy trends has long been an interest for many, but as consumer needs evolve it’s becoming more of an imperative for all food and beverage brands that want to stay relevant.
To learn more about our research, and the key brand insights, download our report here.
If you’d like to discuss how your brand can align to consumer needs contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org