The consequences are mind blowing if you are anywhere in the value chain of food.
When I co-wrote the Food & Health Marketing Handbook back in 2003 we ended with a short chapter called: The Future is iNutrition. The simple insight is that nutrition makes health individual and the knowledge about what foods and nutrients contribute to a healthy and longer life will give the individual consumer the power to choose.
Since the days of the Handbook we have moved from the very simplified world of Food and/or Pharma where consumers used foods to provide energy and pharma for health, to the more complex world of nutrition where every nutrient will have a role for your future health. For you as a consumer it leads to the insight that you have to learn about nutrition and as a marketer that you have to learn about consumers and how they view nutrition.
See this link to my previous article in NutraIngredients about this transition.
Nutrition makes it necessary for consumers to learn about nutrients - and for you to learn about consumers.
This means that the value chain of nutrition and health will start in the mind of the consumer. And since food is the context of nutrition it also means that you must understand the sensory, cultural, psychological, social and other lifestyle dimensions to understanding the individual consumer and what informs her choice.
However understanding consumers hasn't always been the first priority of the food industry. Or as one of my clients admitted: "We spent years getting a proprietary health claim that we thought would give us an immediate success in the market." But if consumers don't understand then it doesn't matter if regulatory bodies do…
More and more the food industry realises consumer education is the key to success – not claims. A health claim will not save a nutritionally poor product.
The era of nutrition will give the consumer the power to see through empty foods. Through knowledge, through transparency and traceability. For bad products and bad production methods there will be nowhere to hide. A health claim can not save a nutritionally poor product. No longer will it be enough for consumers to just ‘Understand the Benefit’, they will need also to ‘Accept the Ingredients’.
My sincere advice to you for 2015 is: Get ready to enter the era of nutrition.
Peter Wennstrom is the president and founder of the Healthy Marketing Team.
Wennstrom will be present at the Vitafoods Europe trade show in Geneva next week.