Healthier Living

Pressure is mounting on us all to lead healthier lives. The government has already announced that a consistent front-of-pack labelling system will be introduced this year to help consumers make healthier choices whilst the NHS Change4Life campaign is placing increasing pressure on shoppers to choose a lower sugar, lower salt or lower fat products. Could social pressure on healthy eating leave the door open for category growth?

In recent weeks, breakfast cereal manufacturers in particular, have felt the force of the call to reduce the sugar in their cereals. This has even included iconic products like Kellogg’s’ children’s favourite Frosties. But does the move necessarily mean that manufacturers of products perceived as less healthy face a future of declining category share and market influence?

Category Growth Opportunities

In fact, continuing growth in concerns about the health of the nation could actually leave the door open for manufacturers to increase their category share in a competitive FMCG market, through innovative thinking and effective product planning.

Instead of reformulating a product, the rise in shopper concerns could be seen as a window of opportunity to introduce new ‘healthier’ products which meet their changing needs. By developing healthy alternatives, which performs well with regard to taste as well as front-of-pack labelling, a manufacturer can in fact effectively position a product to thrive in a new health-conscious environment, therefore helping retailers expand the category overall.

Identification of strategic category growth drivers is vital when developing a category vision. Failure to understand the significance of forces affecting the decision making process of the shopper at the point of purchase could see a product facing a decreasing category share. In a worst case scenario this could result in a weakening relationship with the retailer and ultimately the marginalisation of a product.

Yet, as Kellogg’s are doing, developing a clear vision for a category in the medium term facilitates an ability to react to factors affecting the shopper at the point of purchase, and demonstrates that both brand and retailer understand issues of importance to the shopper.

The introduction of a range of high-fibre, lower sugar cereals could mean manufacturers have identified the growing centrality of healthy options to the shopper. Shopper marketing along these lines could make it possible to move away from mass messaging towards more targeted shopper marketing which directly influences the decision making process of the shopper at the point of purchase.