Challenging Consumer Assumptions with Health Nutrition Marketing

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3 reasons to tell customers what your brand isn’t

Conventional advertising wisdom dictates that brands should stay positive by talking about what they are, not about what they aren’t. Lately, I’m finding very good reasons to do just the opposite. In a marketplace brimming with gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free (and the list goes on) options that contain unnatural substitutes, consumers are becoming VERY interested in what isn’t in their Health Nutrition products.

Health-conscious consumers have had to learn to read between the lines, so when they see a product advertised as “sugar-free”, for instance, they no longer take that at face value. Instead, they mentally substitute the artificial ingredient they know is there: sugar-free = aspartame, Fat-free = more sugar, etc.

For brands that are legitimately allergen and additive-free, these assumptions could be keeping customers away. Here’s a great example: Mrs. Dash is a salt-free seasoning blend made entirely of natural spices. It has been around for as long as I can remember, and I love it. Unfortunately, because it tastes good many consumers assume it contains MSG. Even though the label clearly states “No MSG”, this continues to be a misconception in the marketplace. Similarly, when foods and beverages such as pudding or sodas are labeled “sugar-free”, many consumers assume that they contain aspartame in some form or another. This is sad because legitimately natural, delicious products that are be naturally sweetened may be passed over by jaded consumers who would rather take their chances with sugar than an unnatural chemical additive.

Don’t let similar marketplace assumptions become attached to your brand. If your product is healthy and truly free of allergens and additives, you should be as vocal about what isn’t in your brand as you are about what is. I would even go so far as to campaign against the unnatural substitutes that your competitors use. Here’s why:

The Allergen-Free Market is Booming
The allergen-free food and beverage market was written off as a trend for a long time, until the dollars started rolling in. The reason it is big business isn’t because consumers are jumping on a bandwagon. It’s because people have legitimate allergic reactions such as skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures. Customers with allergies don’t have time to read every label, so they pick a few go-to brands and stick with them. Make your “free” message clear, and you could be one of them.

Trust = Loyalty
Even health-conscious people who don’t have allergies can appreciate a truly natural brand. No one is going to turn away your product for NOT having additives, and they might take a second look when they realize you don’t have them. Making every ingredient in your brand crystal clear gives consumers a reason to trust your brand, and in the Health Nutrition marketplace, trust = loyalty.

You Will Build a Following
Allergen and additive-free consumers are a niche group, but they share information freely and enthusiastically. If you knew a food that you ate could make you and others sick, you would be proactive about avoiding it, too. When you advertise what isn’t in your food or beverage, you are helping make the decision simpler, and that simple decision is an easy message to pass on. Before you know it, you will have a following that loves your brand for what it isn’t.

If you enjoyed this article on consumer assumptions, you may also enjoy:

The Role of Celiac Disease in Health Nutrition Marketing

Building Brand Trust with Health Nutrition Marketing 

Anti-Aging Offers Opportunity for Marketing Health and Nutrition

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/enriqueburgosgarcia/3364250371/”>enriqueburgosgarcia</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Written by Jessica Clay

Jessica Clay

Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.

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