This post is sponsored by Evergreen Packaging.
Linda Gilbert, founder and CEO EcoFocus Worldwide, LLC, and founder and former president of HealthFocus International, brings more than 30 years as a market researcher and strategy consultant helping companies link their product benefits to consumer and nutrition trends. Gilbert’s done extensive qualitative and quantitative studies for food and beverage manufacturers and others in the industry. She talked with SmartBrief about the trends of healthy beverage shoppers and how companies can take advantage of this shift in consumer attitudes.
What are the characteristics of a healthy beverage shopper?
Healthy beverage shoppers make up nearly half of all shoppers – 46% fall into this influential category. Healthy beverage shoppers always or often choose beverages for health reasons. They wield $5.8 trillion in spending power and are driving growth in value-added beverages. They are 40% more likely than all grocery shoppers to live in middle and upper income households, and 71% live in households earning more than $50,000 annually. The consumer segment is comprised of both men and women shoppers who are somewhat better educated than all grocery shoppers, a bit younger and more likely to have children.
Healthy beverage shoppers base their purchase decisions more heavily on nutrition and environmental responsibility than the average shopper. They are buying with both health (90%) and environmental reasons (71%) in mind, and strongly associate better personal health with eco-friendly lifestyle choices.
How can dairy beverages take advantage of the trend?
Recognizing the priorities of this powerful consumer demographic can help brands win over these customers. Dairy beverages need to understand how healthy beverage shoppers are influenced by the perceived health and environmental impact of brands, products and packaging.
Healthy beverage shoppers:
- Are significantly more likely than all grocery shoppers to reward brands that share their values. Brands should make an effort to align with their needs; helping them sift through the clutter and make healthy, eco-friendly choices easier.
- See value in products that are healthy, local and eco-friendly. More fresh foods and beverages, clean ingredients, functional nutrition and responsible packaging are on their shopping list. Making these components prevalent in your products will help healthy beverage shoppers find and choose your brand.
- Are significantly more likely than all grocery shoppers to want beverage labels to tell them about the nutrition, the ingredients and the packaging of the products they’re buying. Don’t stop at simply telling your brands’ story on your website or in your advertising. In order to grab this segment’s attention it’s important to create an environment on the package to tell your story.
What types of packaging resonate with these shoppers?
Less waste and more responsible packaging are top priorities for healthy beverage shoppers with 79% agreeing it is important to limit the amount of garbage their household produces and 76% saying it is important to choose foods and beverages that are packaged responsibly.
They also see big differences in the environmental and health impact of different packaging materials. Glass bottles and refrigerated cartons are consistently perceived as delivering better tasting, healthier and more eco-friendly beverages when compared to cans, pouches or plastic. These perceptions are already impacting brand credentials.
What trends do you expect for the future?
- Synergies between nutrients, ingredients and packaging will offer significant opportunities for brands to speak to higher-level benefits for shoppers, anchored in better personal health and environmental responsibility.
- Brand value and loyalty will be increasingly impacted by the use of renewable and recyclable packaging. Manufacturers need to think about the packaging as an extension of the product ingredient list. Packaging choices will require deliberation beyond conventional considerations.
- Transparency will be critical and essential to earning and keeping consumer trust. Shoppers will want to know that the ingredients and the packaging are responsibly sourced. Keep communications simple, make it familiar and be consistent.
Do healthy beverages affect the clean label trend?
Clean labels are a high priority among healthy beverage shoppers when shopping for beverages. They are 25% more likely than all grocery shoppers to want beverages with no preservatives, and 20% more likely to want beverages without artificial ingredients or artificial hormones or antibiotics. At the same time, the majority of healthy beverage shoppers believe some packaging containers can change the taste of their beverage or leave undesirable chemicals in their beverage.
Clean label products need to be sure to avoid inconsistencies between their contents and their packaging as healthy beverage shoppers are starting to wonder if the packaging is as clean as the ingredients. Clean label products must align the product attributes of better nutrition, clean ingredients and responsible packaging to achieve improved health perceptions.
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