This is one pandemic story playing out in many homes all across the globe – healthy and wholesome food, and plenty of it! With a sudden focus on leading healthier lifestyles that not only help one stay healthy but also builds immunity, a lot of us have become more conscious about what and how much we eat. The number of online consultation for dieticians and nutritionists have increased drastically during the lockdown, given that people are restricted indoors without access to gym or regular outdoor activity.
Also, the ‘snackification’ approach is changing due to mini-meal trends as increasing set of people are eating smaller meals through the day to enhance metabolism rates.
The snacking industry, on the other hand, had already been experimenting with healthy eating alternatives over the past few years, and the growing demand during the pandemic has accelerated their efforts. For example, during the lockdown, Saffola a well-known Indian brand that manufactures ready-to-eat food like upma and poha with super foods like quinoa and millets witnessed a surge in demand. Similarly, Bagrry’s India is also looking at innovative ways to communicate with its consumers to highlight its differential approach on turning to alternative staples like oats and quinoa, which are in great demand these days. Although oats, quinoa, and the like are taking the lead in the alternative snacking world, nuts are in fashion, too. Brands like the California walnuts, are actively working to develop localized content to demonstrate their brand versatility.
On a family level, a recent consumer sentiment survey conducted by McKinsey India states that over 85% of Indians are worried about their personal health or that of their family. This underlying sentiment provides the potential to accelerate the shift to mindful snacking on the household/ family level, thus making the space extremely competitive. A robust communication strategy, that can help take this trend beyond a lockdown centric occurrence to a lasting transformation in food habits, is what can help drive the growth of this emerging segment. PR can be a great game changer, as it can help these brands to effectively mold perception through tools like:
- Educating the masses:Healthy snacking is a relatively new concept in food retail and communication that is informative and educative for masses will go a long way in encouraging people to take this up as an alternative to binge eating. Nutrition led information or content that talks about healthy snaking alternatives for people with specific conditions, like cardiac patients or diabetics etc., is the kind of information that will not only help people make informed purchases but it will also help create brand awareness and preferences.
- Category building:As an emerging category for food, brand led conversations that are backed by industry professionals and supported by testimonials etc., will help build a larger, stronger category for the overall healthy snacking segment. From highlighting comparative studies about certain ingredients, coupled with relevant messaging, need for creating a healthier lifestyle, can further help accelerate the adoption of branded health foods, including snacks.
- Creating thought leadership:As an early entrant, PR can help healthy snacking brands to create a strong industry thought leadership among its peers. From round table conferences/ zoom seminars, partnering with nutritionists and conscious living experts, the brand can initiative a conversation around the significance of healthy food habits. This combination of relevant messaging and expert backing, can help create the leadership position, brand visibility and affinity for masses.
- Build Credibility and Awareness about products:With food as a product, consumers are more skeptical than ever, even if it healthy food. By positioning the brand, through its approach to the sector, research- based innovations, hygienic practices and mindful formulation that can help build credibility among consumers, about the product and the brand.
With the evolved consumer of today that is extremely evolved and informed about the products they buy and especially what they are consuming, a PR based communication approach is vital to build this up.
With an exceedingly cluttered market which is being filled each day with a variety of healthy snacking options, and a lot more expected to join the band wagon, there couldn’t be a more suitable time to emphasize the necessity for brands to invest in effective communication in this rather unique but competitive space. Not only would communication enable them visibility but also greatly enhance top of mind recall amongst the customers.
Anindita Gupta, Co-founder – Scenic Communication, Mumbai