Packaging for the Health Conscious Shopper

Grabbing consumers’ attention with positive, easy to read messages

labelsMore consumers than ever are concerned about eating healthy and the nutrition in foods they are purchasing. However, the way these individuals view healthy eating and read nutrition labels is making a shift. New data shows consumers are now placing more emphasis on overall health as opposed to just simple weight loss.

In a recent study by Mintel, 90% of US consumers agreed with the statement “living a healthy life is all about moderation”, outranking all other statements regarding attitudes toward health and weight. Also, only 6% of consumers said they adhere to a strict diet plan, while 42% say they strive for balance in their diet.

These individuals are drawn to packaging with more positive messages such as “High Protein” or “High Fiber”, and straying from negative sounding messages such as “Low-Carbs”, “Low-Fat” and “Low-Sodium”, which consumers also associate with “Low-Taste”. As a result, high protein claims on packaging have risen 50%, while high fiber and satiety claims have increased 30% and 117%, respectively, from 2008 to 2011.

Active consumers and athletes are demanding high protein for its beneficial effects on performance, recovery and hydration. Also, baby boomers are seeing a need for increased protein to maintain a healthy lifestyle and ward off diseases.

Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt from ConAgra Foods, Inc. is an example of the incredible success these high protein and high fiber products are experiencing. Shipped in packaging clearly marked with claims of containing 40g of protein in each 100 calorie serving, this product saw an average of $125k weekly sales after only 8 weeks on the market.

So how does a company make sure their product is getting the message across properly?

Packaging that includes colorful and graphically displayed nutrition information has been shown to help consumers better understand the content of the food products they purchase. Color is important. Compared to labels that used only text, numerous studies show that packaging that includes both text and color graphics to indicate high, medium, and low levels of nutrition, made it easier for shoppers to understand and make more informed choices. The easier it is for a shopper to identify your product as a healthy option, the easier it is to make a sale.

The UK is rolling out a new front-of-pack nutrition label that looks similar to a traffic light. Anna Soubry, health minister, has said that having a consistent system will allow consumers to understand what is in their food by just glancing at the packaging, helping them control calorie intake and make healthier selections. According to the Department of Health in the UK, each label will display how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar, and calories are in the food products.

Another important trend to pay attention to is the perception of what is healthy to consumers. Many consumers are beginning to gravitate towards health-halo claims such as local, organic, whole wheat, and free- range. Consumers are looking for foods that are responsibly manufactured and have a positive impact on their overall wellness. Anything with a positive nutritional message should have a prominent place on today’s packaging.

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