How to position functional foods to reach different customer segments
Many people have a cliché image of the health food customer in their mind, but the reality is very different. The functional food consumer (one who buys foods and beverages for health benefits as well as nutrition) is not one type of person. If you’re not segmenting your customer population, you may be missing out on key opportunities.
I’ve written several posts about Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials, and even kids. Each of these generations has different attitudes about what healthy means and how well they actually attend to their own health. Deciding what type of messaging to use for each segment may seem daunting. But AgBioForum writer, Linda Gilbert, identifies five positioning platforms for the health and wellness consumer, based upon a based on the findings of the biennial Health Focus Trend Report. She suggests that any combination of these five benefits is appropriate positioning for any functional food or beverage product.
I have taken Linda’s list a step further and adapted those benefits to reflect the values and trends of each generation:
Foods that provide health management through disease and symptom prevention.
This messaging platform is especially appropriate for Gen X’ers who are entering their middle ages and beginning to worry about their long-term health and quality of life.
A product that provides health enhancement through improved physical and mental condition.
A great way to target Millennials, who think they are more active than they actually are. By focusing on performance you create aspirational positioning that will appeal to their age and goals.
Wellness benefits are about feeling good and finding balance.
Appropriate positioning for either Gen X’ers or Baby Boomers, who are both seeking to counteract damage to their health done in their youth. This positioning avoids extremes and over-promises.
Foods that provide caring to the consumer and a sense of satisfaction for the caregiver. This platform focuses on aging and healing.
An effective way to reach Baby Boomers who may already be sick and are seeking comfort as well as health management tools.
Cosmetic benefits are about looking good and enhancing self-esteem through improved physical condition and personal appearance.
Appropriate for all generations, this positioning can piggy-back on almost all of the others, except for nurturing.
I added this because taste is so often forgotten in the health and wellness category. Taste should always be top of mind for you because it is for your consumer! If you are marketing functional foods and beverages for children, this is the only positioning you will want to use.
Read more about these five positioning platforms and how they may relate to your target audience at Marketing Functional Foods: How To Reach Your Target Audience
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.