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How to create consumer ‘want’ for your food innovation

The other week we visited IFE 2017 and saw the fruits of our labours with the new Helios branding brought to life on their very impressive stand. It was exciting to see and we were delighted to find so much interest from visitors and a stunning new offering in the form of Puro coconut oil.

There were a few other innovations that caught our eye – the London Cocktail Company had a fun range of premium quality bottled cocktails (make sure to try the Mai Tai!), and Noveltea’s Earl Grey and Gin cold brew was as delicious as it was refreshing. It was wonderful to see the eye-catching rebrand of our friends over at NIX&KIX who make delicious soft drinks with a cayenne chili kick.

But there was also a degree of repetition at IFE at the same time. We lost count of the number of ‘new’ and ‘different’ snack bars, bagged fruit crisps, flavoured waters, cold pressed juices, herbal teas and more and more cupcakes.

Big food manufacturers create NPD that tends to be safe and well researched but the real innovation comes from small businesses, who strive to find new products that suit our functional and lifestyle needs. But with so many coming to the market, how do you generate the ‘want’ from consumers and find a place on the shelves of the retailers?

We believe that the answer is in 2 M’s – the messaging and the marketing. How you position your new product to appeal to your audience is tantamount to the success or failure of the product. And, what you tell them about your product is crucial to the education of consumers and their understanding of how it benefits them … or creating the ‘want’.

The golden rule is to keep it simple. Don’t overload with messages; identify the USP which will set your product apart from the competition, and pinpoint the messages. At Essence we hold brand workshops to help start-up companies go through this process and identify where they sit in the market.

The next stage is to develop the marketing plan. Where should the product be seen to achieve the maximum effect? What budget do you want to invest in supporting the brand? How to go about engaging an agency to ensure you get the most bang for your buck?

However you develop your NPD, whether it’s a conversation about a gap in the market with friends in the pub or experimenting on the kitchen table, you will always need to generate a ‘want’. So, good luck with your idea and maybe see you at IFE in 2019.