From Atkin’s to the Zone Diet, diets come and go both in media and consumers’ minds, but as we’re all aware, not all diets are created equal. Some gain traction and go from diet of the day to movement, and as brands, it’s critical that we realize the importance of being a part of that movement when appropriate.
So let’s talk alkalinity. For starters, the body’s levels of acidity and alkalinity fluctuate from acidic in the stomach to alkaline in the blood. Proponents of the Alkaline diet believe that through the consumption of many fruits, vegetables, legumes and lots of water while avoiding alcohol, processed foods and animal-based products (meats, cheeses, milks), it is possible to produce less acid in the body and thus promote more alkaline blood. While the jury is still out on the extent of the health benefits of higher blood alkaline, few could argue that more fruits and veggies and less alcohol and processed foods would be a poor diet direction to take.
So, which brands should get involved? Here are just a few categories that are poised to position themselves within the alkaline-centric market.
- Water – While Alkaline waters may be the first branded products to boast the functional benefits of the alkaline-diet specific water, brands are beginning to think outside of the bottle. Water brands are now opening retail locations where consumers can fill reusable glass bottles with alkaline-friendly water, customized with their choice of additional vitamins, minerals and supplements – and at a premium. Cameron Costa, in a CNBC article entitled, “Alkaline Water: Small Business Boom or Bubble?” noted that at one such retail location, Molecule in NYC, consumers can pay up to $4.22 for a single glass of water.
- Cooking Oils – Most home cooks are familiar with olive oil as a salad dressing and cooking ingredient but there are a few more oils seeking a place in the healthy consumers pantry. Certainly not new products, but gaining traction, avocado oil, flax oil and coconut oil are becoming household ingredients gracing the shelves from Whole Foods to Costco. While all are candidates for cooking use while on an alkaline diet, coconut oil as the most trendy. In the New York Times piece, “Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World”, Melissa Clarks tells of how this product when from movie-theater popcorn demon in 1994 to the health food baby of today, with Whole Foods witnessing double digit sales growth for years.
- Juices– We’re not talking about sugar-laden processed juices, but whole food, pressed juices. These juices can provide a great source of nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable juice that make it easy to get full servings of alkaline foods. And despite the premium costs, with some brands getting $12/bottle at retail, it’s hard to say what the ceiling is to this trend.
This Alkaline Diet is just one of many trends on which smart food marketers can capitalize.