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Food

For
Thought
Food for thought With an increasing public awareness of personal health,
food companies are feeling the strain of media scares and
their connected consumers. In this illustrated essay we look
at the challenging landscape and the opportunities for
brands to engage with their audience for future success.
A big problem Obesity is now officially considered an epidemic that
threatens to kill more and more people every year.
Over the past decade this has been a rapidly growing food - and it’s easy to see how we find ourselves
condition in the UK, and today it stands that more in such a drastic situation. Though a level
people are overweight or obese than at a healthy of responsibility must be placed with the the
weight. One look at our tempting but toxic food individual, food brands have the power and opportunity
environment - with fast-food chains at every corner to influence positive and long term behavioral change.
and easy access to cheap, processed and indulgent
Bitter sweet Coined recently in the press as ‘the new tobacco’,
sugar has been highlighted as the enemy.
And now that the enemy has been sighted, there has The UK government is also responding by investing
been increased exposure of it’s whereabouts, including in research to establish the harmful effects of a
a surprising number of savoury processed foods we high-sugar diet. With the help of specialist groups
often don’t think twice about eating. A growing public such as Action on Sugar, it seems likely that what
concern, due to exposes in the media, is being further we’re reading will not only become common public
substantiated with new books and diets promoting the knowledge, but result in revised regulations demanding
benefits of living sugar-free, inspiring many consumers reduced sugar levels in all processed foods.
to actively avoid sugar in search of a healthier lifestyle.
A time for change Widespread research has shown a definite correlation
between a diet high in processed foods and
several diseases.
This public confirmation of how detrimental our eating Though losing weight is still a priority for some,
habits are to our health has added weight to claims; recent trends suggest that people are becoming
particularly in a nation where the average person more concerned with long-term health and well-
consumes processed foods regularly. It has also been being, focussing on satiety rather than purely
confirmed – rather unsurprisingly – that processed counting calories. Consumers are striving to
foods are the enemy of long-term weight loss. make habitual changes that will stick and be
easily integrated into individual lifestyles.
The raw-food For savvy nutrition enthusiasts, the raw-food movement
will be no new thing.
revolution In fact, many of us are already taking a more active cafés as healthy alternatives. Carrot sticks in
role in the food chain and growing our own thanks McDonald’s and kale crisps in Pret A Manger are
to celebrity chef campaigns, and long-standing proof of a changing consumer palette and a niche
government initiatives such as ‘5-a-day’, which have movement gone mainstream. Furthermore, smaller
helped consumers understand the importance of enterprises such as nākd are focussing their entire
daily fresh fruit and vegetables.But now, more than offering on the concept of raw goodness.
ever, we’re seeing raw snacks sold in nationwide
Digital explosion When it comes to shopping, a linear customer journey
no longer exists.
What used to be a progression through from awareness product source to the moment of consumption.
to purchase is now a complex world of feedback, New conversations are being shaped by a surge
research and multi-channel contact. Billions are sharing in personal, portable and digital technologies,
information online and via social media, meaning that which presents brands with an opportunity
people are not only a lot more aware of what is available to extend the conversation beyond products
but also becoming increasingly demanding of what they and engage on a more emotive level.
want, where it comes from and what it delivers; from the
The power Consumers around the world are looking to engage
with responsible brands.
of emerging
markets
And importantly, those who are most committed a truly global awareness of the role food plays in shaping
to purchasing more socially conscious products our planet. It’s time for food brands to look to emerging
are not living in the U.S. or Europe. While only 35 markets - such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil - for
and 32 percent of those in North America and inspiration and valuable learnings on how to change
Europe respectively will pay more for products for the better. Seeking opportunity through adversity,
showing a greater social responsibility, 55 percent emerging markets can inspire brands to think and
of those in the Asia-Pacific region will, demonstrating act with greater openness, passion and agility.

TURN

THIS
WAY BRAZIL
How brands can So how can brands cut through and make a real difference
in this increasingly challenging environment?
make a difference
It doesn’t have to be about turning everything on its head,
or reinventing the wheel; brands can play a more positive
role through communication and education. But what’s
most important is that brands do actually respond and
not simply hope that all this bad press will evaporate.

They need to learn from the past, address present


problems, and ensure that their consumers are reassured
by how the brand is actively shaping a better future.
Here’s some food for thought:
Data visualisation Visualising complex information can be a powerful way
to tell an intuitive, insightful and engaging story.
Tapping into a growing consumer desire to track and By employing simple graphics and iconography,
quantify all aspects of lifestyle, visual communication brands can help the consumer cut through a cluttered
can quickly detail product content and help landscape, making it easier to navigate and feel
suggest how to incorporate it into everyday life. more informed about the decisions they make.
Show your Though it seems a contradiction, the easiest way
to humanise your brand can be through digital channels.
human side The multitude of platforms available equips brands people through whichever platforms have been
with direct lines of communication to their consumer, available at the time, but now they have to prove
enabling storytelling, participation and personal that they are listening by responding to those willing
dialogue. It is crucial to express the true personality to interact. Demonstrating your brand’s ability to
of your brand in order to differentiate and begin not only listen, but respond to what is now direct
more authentic conversations with consumers. consumer feedback will help build deeper trust
Brands have always tried to communicate with and stronger relationships with your audience.

HELLO
Rewarding Creating and curating rewarding experiences will further
engage your consumer with your brand.
experiences From developing rituals to surprising and delighting relationships, with other people and with the world
through new environments, all brands need to focus on around us. We believe it’s just the same for brands.
delivering new experiences to build powerful emotional Successful brands make lasting impressions on
affinity. Food will always be a source of pleasure, us as a result of continual, positive moments of
so brands in this sector have the opportunity interaction. These experiences influence satisfaction,
to be playful, without bowing out of the debate. build loyalty and create emotional attachment.
Experiences form the basis of all kinds of human

is
The experience The Brand Union
We are a global brand agency with deep expertise

of the brand is
in brand strategy, design, brand management and
employee engagement. A network of 500 people in
23 locations around the world, serving every market.

the brand. Founded in 1986, we are part of the WPP Group.

Author
Maria Trindade,
Emily Nicholson,
Lauren Murray

Contact details
Brand Union
11-33 St John Street
London EC1M 4AA
United Kingdom

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