What does better-for-you mean? When comparing various food and beverage products, better-for-you (BFY) products are quite literally those that are better for your health. They are products that are low in fat, salt, and/or sugar and high in fibre or vitamins. With the recent trends and awareness around healthy living, consumers are more willing to embrace a range of product types, especially if they include health benefits. When making purchasing decisions consumer’s often consider the health benefits, what ingredients have been used, the quality of the product and finally taste and flavour.
In 2018, the top 10 New Product Pacesetters’ featured sweet and indulgent foods and beverages. However, since 2019 there has been a major shift towards more natural, healthy, non-GMO products. Brands that are innovative and exhibit BFY attributes sit high up on the New Product Pacesetter’s list (IRI Report, 2019). Research has been done into the BFY category and it has been said that those companies that place emphasis on selling BFY products record stronger growth sales, higher operating profits, and an overall better reputation. Companies should place emphasis on selling BFY products as it becomes an effective competitive advantage.
Where is the category heading?
As the healthier-eating trend continues to evolve, consumer perceptions and expectations will certainly change. Consumers are actively seeking out healthier products. Brands should take this opportunity to gain further insight into their consumers and what they expect from a brand. BFY products will continue to storm the market and grow in popularity, especially if the products include the following attributes:
Millennials and Gen Z are generations that are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. There has been a large movement towards living a clean lifestyle, that involves eating and using products which are low in preservatives and chemical-based ingredients. This movement towards a cleaner lifestyle will not stop, it will continue to grow causing many companies to join the trend of clean eating by providing consumers with products that satisfy their current wants.
Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, consumers were reporting high levels of stress and anxiety. With many consumer’s lives being uprooted and with the uncertainty of the situation a lot of consumers turned to food for comfort. However, the virus created an awareness around health and many consumers began reaching for products that would protect them in any way against the virus, while also helping them manage their stress and anxiety. Due to this we have seen a rise in CBD product innovations. The popularity and effectiveness of these products have created a whole new space for food and beverage companies to start further exploring the benefits that CBD products have.
A consumer’s first impression of a product can simply come down to its branding. If the branding on a product is not relevant or appealing to the consumer, they will move onto the next one. Product branding needs convenience, balance, and authenticity. Consumers make an investment into clean, healthy living and look for products that are easy to incorporate into their lives, that balances health and taste and make an effort to build a connection with consumers through providing them with a product that is good for both them and the planet. Building brand loyal consumers is key to building a lasting product.
We asked KICR’s Senior Innovation consultant, Will Leigh:
What’s next in BFY?
‘Better-for-you has historically focused on promoting which elements of a product have been removed in order to make them ‘healthier’ – think low fat, reduced salt or no added sugar. But in an era where consumers are increasingly clued-up on health, well-being and quirky ingredients, focus has shifted to the inclusion of elements that can offer additional benefits, rather than what’s been taken away.
Consumers are savvy to the fact that things like sugar, fat and salt are critical to the overall flavour and texture of a product so can respond negatively when they are removed, particularly when it comes to treating. Reformulating products to fit the ‘better-for-you’ need-state must be approached with sensitivity: add ingredients that drive consumer inquisitiveness, avoid backlash of taking something away from a much loved product, and keep one foot firmly in the familiar.’