In September, Vitafoods Insights explored topics including brand marketing communications in the post-COVID landscape, tips on go-to-market strategies and partnering with manufacturers, and guidance on developing a comprehensive sustainability strategy. Catch up on what you might have missed this past month:
- New research on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted consumers’ interest in health and wellness products
- Understanding ‘corpsumer’ communication, and tips to make it work for your business
- Opportunities for insect protein in product formulation
- Guidance on developing an effective go-to-market partnership with a contract manufacturer, including questions to ask.
- Why private-public partnerships are the future to address malnutrition, and the integration of social responsibility into a sustainability initiative.
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Welcome to the Vitafoods Insights September Industry Highlights podcast. I’m Heather Granato, thanks for joining me. We’re showcasing some of the interesting pieces from Vitafoods Insights this month, and offering a bit of context on how it might accelerate your own product ideation and go to market strategy. So let’s kick this off. First, as brands look to develop their business strategies for 2022 and beyond, it’s apparent that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact. New findings from a study conducted by Health Focus International with Arla Foods identified several major changes in the way consumers eat and shop for health. One key area of opportunity is around foods to improve mood and address stress—top of mind for 14 percent of consumers. Another is the continued interest in supplements for general health—which grew from less than half of consumers to nearly two-thirds. They’re also willing to pay up to ten percent more for foods and beverages that deliver immunity benefits. Finally, consumers are seeing the connection between personal health and sustainability, with a willingness to spend more on products that are healthy for themselves and the environment. Now, to take advantage of that consumer interest in sustainability, you need to ensure your brand HAS a story around sustainability. This was one of the key takeaways from Gillian Fish’s insights around ‘corpsumer' communications. This merging of corporate comms and consumer messaging has at its foundation the ability to bring to life a distinctive point of view using key strategies and tactics. Or, as Gill explains:
Audiences, consumers are seeking far more for less, and it needs to be more valuable, it needs to be trusted, needs to be reliable. And again, those are all principles of traditional thought leadership or business to business communications that are now being used as the hallmark of excellent communications in a time where we want to empower consumer that are seeking knowledge in a time of disruption, and they want to build to rely on brand holders. And that is really what corpsumer communications are about.
So, start thinking about a narrative that builds trust and leadership, work to earn the respect of key opinion leaders and build those long-term relationships, and commit to making a difference and leading with purpose. Let’s turn to something a little lighter. Could insect protein become the protein of the future? The insect protein market is forecast to grow to more than eight billion dollars by 2030, and it offers many nutritional benefits including protein that delivers all essential amino acids. A recent study in Italian athletes showed there are steps that could improve rates of adoption of products with this unique protein source. Sharing information about the benefits of insect protein improved the athletes’ willingness to try a cricket protein bar, and a third of those who tasted were even willing to endorse the product. As the researchers concluded: It will take education about the environmental and nutritional benefits of edible insects to get past the initial ‘ick’ factor hampering product trial. Next, let’s turn now to the driving force of the nutraceutical market: new product innovation. You’ve got a great concept or you’re growing like crazy. You’re looking at your go-to-market strategy and evaluating how to get that product to market. But how to ensure that you have the right partner for your ‘concept to shelf’ journey? A new ‘go to market’ guide for food supplement brands was just published at Vitafoods Insights. In it, Charlotte Bastiaanse explores how to select the right partner, how to navigate facility audits, what red flags to watch out for, and even cost calculations. Now, while cost is certainly top of mind, it’s important that it’s not the sole determining factor when selecting a manufacturing partner. Issues including flexibility, lead times, supply transparency, support for formulation, and communication needs come into play. What you’re seeking is a relationship with commitment on both sides, according to Jernej Klopčič, director of business development at PharmaLinea.
What sets manufacturers apart early on is the speed and manner of professionalism seen in responses to businesses’ inquiries. This may sound basic, but the responsiveness a company exhibits from the first moment on is a good indicator of what communication will be like throughout the business relationship. When using nothing but superlatives, openness to all and any business opportunity, and unrealistic timelines all designed to be looked out for. Frankness, down to earth communication, and the simple ‘no’ can be your best indicators for a healthy relationship and the products actually contributing to your brand image.
One critical consideration is ensuring your partner is fully compliant with necessary manufacturing regs, as it is your brand on the line in the case of noncompliance. This plays into the importance of facility audits and reviewing standards such as the level of licensing and certifications a company holds; on-site inspections; and a look at quality control procedures. George Kokkinis, co-founder of Pharmako Biotechnologies, encourages learning as much as possible about your partner.
Tools in the quality systems such as change controls, deviations, corrective and preventative actions, annual product quality reviews, complaints handling, are all very important for continuous improvement.
Get the full insights including questions to evaluate your needs and a partner’s capabilities by downloading the report at vitafoods insights dot com. Sustainability is impacting every aspect of business, and businesses have a powerful ability and responsibility to take action that could increase the accessibility of safe and nutritious products to consumers. In fact, there are opportunities for governments to engage in public-private partnerships that can harness the power and reach of business to drive forward nutrition goals. The Scaling Up Business Network is a part of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition or GAIN. In a piece for Vitafoods Insights, SBN Community Support Manager Ritta Sabbas Shine noted this year’s Nutrition Year of Action offers opportunities for new initiatives in this area. Further, Ritta’s colleague Christina Nyhus Dhillion, senior technical specialist at GAIN, took time out to talk with Vitafoods’ Carla Hill about why the nutraceutical industry must take responsibility for its supply chain and sustainability priorities to meet consumer demand, support ROI and tackle the problem of global hunger. Christina covered the challenges around malnutrition, which can cover everything from underweight to overweight and hidden hunger, as well as the onus on industry to address the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability.
I think social sustainability should include all people who are involved with the brand, from those who originally produced the products or the ingredients, perhaps the growers and pickers of some of the items to those who are involved throughout the supply chain processors and retailers. And then, of course, all the way to the consumer. We need to consider all of them for a socially sustainable supply chain. For me, there are different, I guess, approaches that companies and brands might want to take for those different types of sectors or populations. And in my opinion, generally, it's those who are at the producer and who tend to be the most vulnerable. And I think that's where concentrated efforts need to be made really protect those workers.
As Christina concludes, a truly socially responsible industry is one that considers the whole well being of the people on whom the final product is dependent both now and in the future. If you’re interested in hearing more about the topic of sustainability and social responsibility, and you’re joining us in Geneva at Vitafoods Europe, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the panel discussion on this topic with Christina, Vanessa Mayernis, the founder of the Little Big Collective, and Daniel Baertschi, the founder and CEO of Carbon Farms. Head over to www.vitafoods.eu.com to learn more about this year’s Vitafoods Europe, starting in person on 5 October. And, if you’ll be joining us in Geneva, look me up! Thanks again for joining me, and don’t forget to check the show notes that will allow you to link to the information discussed in today’s podcast. The Vitafoods Insights News Update happens monthly, so be sure to stay tuned, subscribe and even suggest to a friend. And if you’ve got news to share, hit me up at [email protected].