NEW INSIGHTS INTO FOOD & HEALTH
Food Technology’s Wellness 10 conference delivered an integrated perspective on emerging technologies, scientific evidence, and consumer trends.
“Health and wellness is one of the most complicated, convoluted, and contradictory constructs humankind has ever invented,” said innovation consultant and Wellness 10 speaker Mark Payne in a session titled “Beyond BFY (Better for You): A New Manifesto for Wellness Innovation.” Payne’s new manifesto calls for dispelling entrenched myths about health and wellness and their relationship to successful product development. Myth No. 1, according to Payne, is that consumers are getting smarter about what they eat. If that’s the case, he observed drolly, then “knowledge must be very fattening” because, while the body of available nutrition knowledge has increased in recent decades, the size of the average body has also increased.
What is more accurate, Payne contended, is this statement: “Some consumers are getting more knowledgeable about what they eat, but they’re really not eating that much smarter. We can’t mistake consumers’ rapidly growing preference for healthy-sounding products for bona fide healthy eating.”
Payne’s Myth No. 2 is that the food industry needs to educate consumers to make healthier choices. “It’s not untrue,” Payne said of the preceding statement, “but it misses the real point. We need to give eating right a fighting chance against eating wrong.”
One of the problems, Payne contended, is that food companies have conditioned consumers to lower their taste expectations. Consumers have come to believe that “smart choices are likely to leave us yawning.” What successful product developers need to do, according to Payne, is to embrace “the pleasure principle” and to adopt “a new playbook” for product development.
“This is about innovations that taste better than what came before and just happen to be healthier. … We need to entice consumption over to the good side,” continued Payne. He cited the example of Pringles Rice Infusions, a line extension that his company, Fahrenheit 212, played a role in developing. Thanks to its flavorful taste profile, the new offering helped the Pringle’s brand grow market share in Europe, Payne said.
Another strategy for successful new product development involves coming up with“ next wave hybrids,” i.e., products that straddle more than one category. Fahrenheit 212 worked with New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra to develop such a hybrid—Wh2ole, flavored water formulated with a clear milk protein extract to deliver a satiety benefit.
By Kelly Frederick, Mary Ellen Kuhn, and Toni Tarver