Ingredients company talks directly to the consumer. Is this the future?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ingredients, Marketing

Raising consumer awareness of functional foods generally falls into
the hands of food manufacturers. But recently formed soy
ingredients firm The Solae Company announced this week that it will
invest millions of dollars in a TV campaign in a bid to build up
the ingredients brand in the consumer marketplace.

Entitled "Protein in Unexpected Places"​ the campaign, a series of four 15 second commercials created by advertising gurus Ogilvy & Mather, will push the Solae brand of soy protein, 'a better-for-you protein option than many animal-based proteins,'​ said the St.Louis-based firm.

"Reaching out to consumers directly is a critical component to building an ingredient brand,"​ said Todd Sutton, global marketing director at Solae. We want to educate consumers that if they purchase products containing Solae soy protein, they're choosing great-tasting, better-for-you foods and beverages that are easily incorporated into everyday life, he added.

With a few exceptions, taking an ingredients brand directly to the consumer market is new territory for the ingredients industry. But as health products continue to demonstrate strong growth for ingredients suppliers, improving brand awareness at the consumer level could be an efficient and profitable way to maximise on the trend.

Television commercials do not come cheap which certainly means only ingredients companies of a certain size will have the financial weight to invest in such profile activities. In 2003 billion euro Danish ingredients firm Danisco launched a company branding campaign to bring ingredients out of the darkness of the label and into the light of consumer media coverage.

The first leg of Danisco's branding campaign rolled out last year with TV commercials and advertisements in Denmark, drawing on research into consumer attitudes towards ingredients and additives.

'We set up three focus groups, one for working women, one for chefs and one for nutrition experts,'​ said Henrik Vesterborg Andersen, global marketing manager at Danisco, at the time.

'We wanted to know what they thought of when they heard words such as 'additives' and 'ingredients'. To some extent, they [chefs and working women groups] did not distinguish between food ingredients, additives and toxins. Flavours were subject to the most criticism,'​ he added.

Danisco's results suggest that food ingredients companies may have to start thinking about raising their profiles towards consumers through direct campaigns as a means to guarantee and reinforce sales in the future. Ingredients brand awareness could be the future.

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