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Opinion: No hidden nasties

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Opinion: No hidden nasties

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Lisa Cork2I just finished some market research for a client. It is an interesting project with an innovative, new product which will challenge the status quo of a category.

Since it is a brand new product concept and staying true to my four stage FreshInsights™ Process, I started the project by seeking consumer feedback. I used a very open-ended question to get a sense of what was important to consumers. And the feedback was fantastic.

There is no doubt, in many Western countries, consumers are seeking way more from their food. Not only do they expect it to be safe, but these days, they want it to be ‘clean’, healthy and free from…."no hidden nasties." This is the phrase that caught my attention.

As many of you know, I have a quite a lovely obsession with CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) packaging. In the last three years, I’ve had the chance to do work on four continents and visit just about every retail format possible. Everywhere I go, I take photos of packaging. To date, I think my packaging photos collection has over 650 pictures of really cool stuff from around the globe.

Back to the hidden nasties. Increasingly, I am seeing the words ‘no hidden nasties’ or ‘free from hidden nasties’ appearing more and more on CPG packaging. Of course, this supports the whole emerging trend where consumers are getting more concerned and savvier about what goes into their food.

Fuelled by blogging, social media and the rise of many diet movements (think Paleo, Raw, Vegan, 5&2), the ingredients of CPG food products are on the consumer radar.

Eating ‘clean’ is all about eating foods with ingredients you can understand and pronounce. It’s all about the fewer the ingredients and the closer to raw they are, the better the food will be for you.

For packaging communications, this is being expressed as “no hidden nasties.” It appears to be a word phrase that is catching on.

Going back to the consumer survey, I estimate 30% of consumers, mentioned they expected this new food product to have ‘no hidden nasties.’

Interesting, isn’t it? Cork photo

I often write one of the simplest things a fresh produce company can do to improve their packaging is to research food and health trends and bring them to life on their packaging. Researching trends is easy to do. A simple Google search reveals 500,000 hits – all related to food or health or foodservice trends.

As we start to wind down to the end of 2015, 2016 food trends will soon be posted online. This Christmas, if you have a bit of down time, spend some time reviewing the trends. Which relate to your products? How can you bring this trend to life on your packaging?

If you find a trend that is relevant to you, Google NPD (new product development) trends within the trend and see how packaged food companies are bringing the trend to life. Review their packs. Look at their wording. Then see if there is an element of this trend or key words you can bring to life on your pack.

Consumers are changing and evolving faster than ever. Thanks to the influence of social media, trends fly around the world and get adopted at incredible speed. As a food producer, this puts incredible pressure on you to keep up with the rapidity of change.

Monitoring and incorporating trends and changing your packaging communications language are just some of the things you can do to keep up.

Remember, it is no longer good enough to only change your packaging every decade.


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