“The most common mistake by western fast moving consumer good (FMCG) companies who launch new food and beverage brands in emerging markets is that they jump straight in to a Pleasure position with their brands.”
So says Peter Wennstrom, leading food branding expert and president of the Healthy Marketing Team (HMT), who says many western companies frequently get it wrong by taking western market assumptions into emerging markets and being forced to learn the hard way that the two rarely match.
In healthy and functional foods that means paying particular attention to the nutritional component of any campaign.
“The nutritional relevance is critical for successful food marketing in the emerging markets,” Wennstrom told us.
“Remember that many consumers in these growing economies still have an experience of nutritional shortage, either for themselves or for their parents.”
In a new book, The FourFactors for Growth Market Success, Wennstrom has pinpointed the bedrocks he says need to be respected if healthy foods and the broader healthy foods category are to succeed in emerging markets.
- "Goodness for the family. This is the almost mythological level of ‘milk is good for you’ and it doesn't need any detailed knowledge.
- Benefits. This is where you segment specific health and nutrition benefits for special targets or occasions.
- Pleasure. This one now builds on the two first and adds further value with pleasure combined with new formats and occasions. Just look at Activia Greek Yoghurt.
- Cool. Where the young trendy and affluent is down to the category, like with the frozen yoghurt bars."
Problem is, many brands are embracing pleasure too soon. “This may work for a while but with increasing competition and also recession consumers will be more discerning with their investments to also get a nutritional payback.”
The Swede shone a light on Pepsi Tropicana in India as an example of a big FMCG company fine tuning and evolving a brand to meet local tastes and customs.
“The brand story is evolving from 100% juice to a more specific health advantage, positioning Tropicana as the right and essential choice for breakfast. Breakfast is seen as the most important nutritional occasion in most markets.”