Your company makes great products. They are healthy. They taste great. Maybe they’re even convenience foods…but are they innovative foods? The reality is, your great product is up against some fierce competition. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average number of items carried in a supermarket in 2014 was 42,214. In this sea of options, how can you make your products stand out and find their way into shopper’s grocery carts? It’s all about innovation.
Innovative foods are exciting.
Consumers are more adventurous than ever before. They are not only looking for new foods to experiment with but they are also looking for new ways to eat old favorites. Ever tried a sushi burger? Ingredients previously found only in specialty stores for a premium price have become readily accessible and in many instances, very affordable. And, with a booming number of cooking shows, gourmet cooking is as much of a spectator sport as football. We are craving culinary excitement. Innovative foods are constantly keeping this excitement alive through new products, packaging or branding to increase excitement and appeal.
Innovative foods are on-trend.
Food trends are constantly evolving. Sometimes it’s a magical vegetable, like the kale craze. Sometimes it’s an ethnic flavor, like siracha-flavored everything. It’s important to stay ahead of these trends and take advantage of them, if possible. And, it doesn’t require developing new products or flavors. It can be as simple as developing recipes that incorporate your product and the flavor-of-the-month. Share the trendy recipe all over social media and your website. Staying on-trend keeps your products relevant, top-of-mind and shows consumers that your company can keep up.
Innovative foods tell a story.
We all want to feel good about the food we are buying. We care about how it was produced. This is especially true of animal-based products. One of the natural food trends that is expected to thrive in the mainstream market this coming year is grass-fed beef and dairy. When you think about grass-fed cow, do you imagine a happy cow frolicking in rolling hills of gorgeous green grass? So do I. The actual name of the product tells a story that creates a warm, fuzzy feeling. Most products need to do a bit more to solicit emotion but the point is, what is your story? And, more importantly, how do you share it and weave it into your branding?
Innovative foods provide an experience.
Consumers, especially millennials, are always looking for the next thing to post on social media. And food is one of their favorite topics. In fact, there is even psychology research that suggests that Instagraming food makes it tastes better to you. Use your brand to create a share-worthy culinary experience and you’ll win over the millennials and then some. Wondering how? First of all, make sure that your company has creative presence on social media- the type of presence that inspires online engagement and cravings. Secondly, provide your customers with fun recipes and interesting ways to consume your product. Is it generally a breakfast food? Suggest ways to incorporate it into other meals or even dessert. Use your brand to initiate an experience and the customer will take it from there.