In 2014, the tables were turned on food and beverage brands as the appetites of consumers moved in new directions. This led many brands to launch new products, refresh their images, and take some risks. And all of these changes were tracked and packed into news feeds that covered our constant cravings. For a look at how food and beverage brands strived to satisfy shifting tastes, MediaPost.com served up the following highlights.
In 2014, big brands were buying up “natural” and “organic” companies at a rapid rate as they saw many more consumers preferring to purchase these foods. And part of their acquisition position was selling off some of their prior buys to concentrate on their core business. Some examples of these acquisition decisions were:
- General Mills’ desire to profit from the huge demand for natural and organic foods led them to acquire Annie’s natural snacks company.
- Conversely, Unilever sold the two major pasta sauce brands of Ragu and Bertolli in an effort to focus on their higher-margin segment of personal care products.
There was a rebirth of revitalization for brands as many chose to reformulate their products, extend their lines, refresh their marketing, and even rebrand their businesses.
One of the most refreshing approaches came from Coca-Cola. For the beverage brand’s successful “Share A Coke” campaign, the brand tapped into the Millennial market through savvy marketing and personalized packaging. They replaced the brand’s name on Coke bottles with one of the 250 most common first names of Millennials, along with many of their commonly used terms of endearment. In its first six weeks, the campaign saw more than 125,000 shared posts across digital channels, with 96% either positive or neutral.
Going Natural Became Only Natural
In 2014, many big brands staring replacing processed ingredients with more natural ones. Pepsi led the pack by switching from high fructose corn syrup to real sugar in three of its flavors.
Risk Had Its Rewards
Some food brands took risk tasking to the extreme, such as:
- PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay tested mystery flavors of Doritos to the mainstream market in major supermarkets by distributing them in bags only named by their test numbers.
- Domino’s discussed the value of taking risks and facing failure, as the company did in its boldly honest pizza improvement campaign, in order to build and better a brand.
Gains from Weight Loss
Focusing on fitness and diet was a healthy move in 2014. A number of food brands and restaurant chains turned good health into a great campaign, including:
- Subway made fun of fitness fads like Paleo diets and other “caveman” plans in its TV ads to humorously highlight how its healthy meal options can fit into any fitness routine.
- Panera played on our search for the “secret” to weight loss by promoting its somewhat “secret” Power Menu of more healthful meals as part of the brand’s weight-loss challenge.
Our tastes and trends in food made for major news in 2014. And as food brands hunger for market share and consumers crave new products, many expect our diets to drive the headlines all through 2015.
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Written by Michael Del Gigante