The Packaging Pitch: Learning from dog food wellness marketing

July 03 , 2017

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

As many of you know, I have a bit of a brand and packaging obsession. I love to see great packaging, creative brands, and companies that do unique positioning that enables them to stand out in a crowded environment.

With branding becoming more and more important in fresh produce, I am always on the lookout for brands I can share. This month, my packaging example has gone to the dogs…literally! Before I reveal, let me take a brief sideways step.

I am a big follower of trends. Why? Because trends are a crystal ball enabling me to better understand the future. I am constantly reading up on food and health trends as a way of better understanding consumers. I regularly use trends in my client work and it’s one of the reasons I have been able to design and bring to life many innovative brands in the produce sector.

One of the more interesting trends on my radar right now is health vs wellness. What’s the difference? While the words seem similar, the difference is actually substantial.

I recently spoke at an industry fruit conference and put up two word clouds – one for health and one for wellness. I had the audience look at the graphic, then call out what key words they noticed.

For health, the key words were: exercise, sport, fitness, muscular, training and strength. Yes, there were other words like wellness and wellbeing in the word cloud, but they were small in comparison to the words describing more physical activity. The audience summarized health as being physically active.

I then put up a word cloud for wellness – and the larger key words were different. Within the wellness word cloud were words like: balance, health, water, sleep, fruit, vegetables, wholesome. The audience summed wellness up as being broader and more holistic. 

For me, it is more the feel of the words, or as said in the great Australian film The Castle, “It’s the vibe of it”, which is where the difference exists. Health marketing and branding is more prescriptive. Wellness marketing and branding is more invitational and motivational.

Given wellness is trending, I wanted to find exemplar food brands using wellness as their branding and marketing theme. And this is where dog food comes in.

Wellness Natural Pet Food is exactly what it says – a natural food product for dogs and cats. Their master brand is Wellness and they have a range of sub-brands, including Core, Simple, TruFood and Complete Health.

Delete the word pet food on their website/packaging, then substitute the words fruit or vegetable product, and you would have a winning produce branding concept. Don’t believe me? Consider adapting this paragraph from their homepage (with a slightly different photo of course):

Get the picture? It is a great example of wellness marketing excellence and any fresh produce company that is committed to continual evolution would benefit from studying the words on the webpage and looking at how they used their packaging and sub-brands to build on the Wellness master brand.

This is marketing and branding excellence in action and I encourage you to have a look.

Wellness is here to stay folks and it is in our best interest to capitalize on it as fruits and vegetables are two heroes of the wellness story. 

Just as I was writing this article I received an email promoting The Hartman Group’s latest category report: Health + Wellness 2017. In their promotional blurb they state, “Health and wellness continues to transform the food and beverage marketplace. Today’s consumers are laser-focused on fresh, less processed, high-quality foods and beverages with inherent functionality.”

A shift towards wellness is great for our industry – but from a marketing, branding and packaging point of view, it looks, sounds and feels different than health. How are you going to take advantage of wellness as a theme to drive your future marketing, branding and packaging? Lost for ideas…drop me an email (lisa@freshproducemarketing.com). This trend is too important to miss out on.

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