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How can marketers benefit from the healthy eating industry

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

The idea that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food is not a new notion.

Creative Leap question whether we really are what we eat.

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, in 1826: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

The actual phrase didn’t emerge in English until somewhat later. In 1942, Victor Lindlahr, the man who developed the Catabolic Diet published You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet. That seems to be the vehicle that took the phrase into the public consciousness.

The phrase got a new lease of life in the 1960s hippy era. Macrobiotic wholefood was the food of choice and the phrase was adopted by them as a slogan for healthy eating. The belief in the diet in some quarters was so strong that when Adelle Davis, a leading spokesperson for the organic food movement, contracted the cancer that later killed her, she attributed the illness to the junk food she had eaten at college.

Now nearly 60 years later and it would be unusual to hear any dissenting voices around the idea that eating well is an important part of maintaining good health. In the UK the NHS has published ‘Eat Well’ which provides guidelines on how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet and Public Health England’s ‘Change for Life’ program has invested tens of millions in trying to educate the public about the health benefits of diet and exercise.

This is, however, far from being a straightforward task. ‘Modern life’ can mean that we’re a lot less active. With so many opportunities to watch TV or play computer games, and with so much convenience and fast food available, we don’t move about as much, or eat as well as we used to.

What is more, when it comes to food choices, one person’s meat, plant based, low-fat, reduced-sugar or gluten-free diet is another’s poison.

Despite these apparent contradictions and complexity, it would seem that one area of the market that is set to enjoy steady growth is Nutrition and Supplements, as evidenced by both long-term market growth forecasts and recent M&A activity.

Whilst this is far from a homogenous market, with distinct sub categories in, for example, mono mineral supplements, sports nutrition, botanicals and clinical nutrition it is characterised by the link to the idea that what we do or do not eat or consume as part of our daily diet can have a direct effect on our overall health and wellbeing.

Not surprisingly, from a marketing perspective it is here, at the increasingly blurring boundaries of ‘Healthy Nutrition’ where many challenges are encountered.

For brands; positioning, proposition, visual identity, category codes, design cues and copy & claims are traditionally very different between healthcare and FMCG markets. Even a cursory look at some of the sub categories mentioned is evidence enough of the potential for creating consumer confusion.

So, how do brand owners navigate the complex & dynamic ‘grey’ areas between food & health to create distinctive, relevant and credible propositions that engage with emerging choice architectures and changing consumer behaviour?

Creative Leap and 1HQ are respectively, leaders in Health & Wellness and Food & Beverage branding and have recently joined forces to address these very issues.

Our combined experience and expertise make us unique in being able to understand and decode the often-conflicting left and right brain thought processes and category codes and semiotics around eating more healthily.

We have designed and proven a robust methodology that translates these insights into compelling visual and verbal brand propositions that respect and amplify key aspects of existing brand equity to drive relevance, distinctiveness and engagement.

David Gray, CEO of Creative Leap, part of Ceuta Group

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