Healthy Food Marketing: The Health of Indulgence

I recently went on a very long bike ride with my daughter. And that’s how I justified indulging in one of my favorite Treats, an Affogato- a super high quality gelato drenched in espresso. I convinced myself it was ok because the ingredients were so pure and I had after all, earned it.  It got me thinking about consumers, even the most health conscious like me want to be able to justify the occasional indulgence.

You listening, marketers? Because here’s a truth about me, about people in general and about your consumers:

We ALL want to indulge once in awhile

People are human and they want – maybe even need – to indulge from time to time, no matter how healthy they are. And there are actual health benefits to that too, so long as we can find evidence that acts as permission to feel good about it. Here are some brands working with this truth in a positive way. These are insights that you too, could leverage for your brand:

Let consumers “own” their indulgence

People flock to LA brand Kreation for its organic juices, smoothies and more. And their desserts are to die for. They offer a line of “saints and sinners” desserts. So if you’re going to indulge in, say, Tiramisu, you can find the evidence to feel good about it. And choosing certified organic Tiramisu in a glass jar from a brand dedicated to health, wellness and the earth makes you feel pretty darn good. They even label their desserts with “saints” and “sinners” icons telling you upfront, the kind of experience you’ll be getting. This is my kind of indulgence, a conscious one.

Lead consumers away from over-indulgence

Meanwhile, Mars is on the total other end of the health spectrum. Mars, known mostly for its sugary candies, saw this age of health and transparency as an opportunity to lead the industry: by shifting packaging (goodbye king size, hello sharing size) and reformulating its products to reduce calories and sizes, and decrease artificial coloring. They’re also leading initiatives to educate on treats (indulgences), vs snacks (meal alternatives). This is an incredible example of a legacy brand using its scale for the greater good, while also working hard to stay relevant in a world whose priorities (and taste buds) are changing.

Cleaning up your act, just a little, means a lot to consumers

Dunkin Donuts has found a way to maintain “extraordinary brand longevity” no matter how healthy America is getting. And now, even the king of donuts has decided to clean up their act. They’re removing artificial colors from their products and are committed to having them totally gone by 2018. I’m really curious what more the double D will do to stay competitive in today’s market. Because consumer’s demand for the “free-froms” is become almost cost of entry, with the plethora of healthy options available. What they really want is for their greatest indulgences to ALSO offer health benefits.

Could your brand learn something from the indulgent brands that are embracing the healthy landscape? I’d love to help you take a deeper look at what your consumers really care about. Let’s talk.

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