Food marketing in the digital age is a science art. The food and beverage industries spend more than $2b each year, marketing to U.S. adults and children. The target markets are bombarded with the basic 4Ps:
The choices consumers make affect their weight, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, consumption of sodium, and other factors affecting healthcare outcomes.FoodingredientsFirst.com, an information newsletter site, leads with an October 8, 2015 posting titled, “Dairy for Weight Management.” Dairy products are advertises as “healthy, because they promote the protein consumers get important for active lifestyles.” Yogurts especially are marketed as high protein products. “Low fat” is the most frequent healthy eating claim made among dairy product launches. “Digestive health” is the second most tracked claim in the dairy category. “Low calorie” claims are small in number, but the “high protein” marketing moniker reaches 7% of all new dairy products launches.
The confectionary industry is not to be outdone. Their food marketing latches on to the “healthy eating moniker” too.
In a March 2015 blog post, Beth Skwarecki debunks the hype around commonly thought of healthy foods. Quinoa is marketed as protein rich, but in truth a cup has just 8 grams of protein; that’s less than a cup of lentils, and about the same protein as a hardboiled egg. She cautions shoppers to watch for the “healthy” labels on food packaging.
- They use healthy promises to distract you from the truth on the back of the label with terms like “a good source of…” and “made with real….”
- Food marketers publicize benefits and create or ride trends. Gluten-free appears on the front of a name-brand children’s morning cereal that is loaded with sodium and sweeteners.