In marketing, a key to good results is providing the right message to the right audience at the right time. I think about that almost every time I visit a grocery store or restaurant. How in the world do they manage to keep up with the constant influx of diet trends and new product releases to meet growing consumer demand from “food tribes”?
Food tribes are communities of people that share preferences regarding the types of food they eat or don’t eat. Examples include diet sectors (like Paleo or Keto), lifestyle choices (like vegan or vegetarian), and health focused (like gluten free or soy based). They’re small, passionate and very vocal. And, in most cases, they’re early adopters that can be very influential on marketing trends or microtrends – making it even more important to identify the right message and audience to target.
Recent examples highlight a variety of approaches that restaurants, grocers and others in the industry are using to stay relevant.
- Restaurants: Chipotle is trying to please the masses – proclaiming itself diet-friendly with the introduction of Whole 30, Paleo, Keto and high-protein offerings. McDonalds, on the other hand, is trying a more focused approach launching a vegan wrap and Happy Meal option in the UK and trialing a vegan burger in Chicago.
- Grocers: Most large chain grocery stores are stocking their shelves with everything from oat milk to cauliflower everything. But there are a couple of niche marketers like Explorado Market in Colorado that only offer Keto, Paleo, Whole 30 and vegan products. No Chips Ahoy to be found.
- Meal Kits: The Purple Carrot has defined themselves in the market as a plant-based, vegan-friendly meal kit option. Also, if you visit Sun Basket and you can choose from 10 meal plans varying from diabetes-friendly to gluten-free.
Not to be left out of the craze, your local Girl Scout Troop offered up its first gluten-free cookie this year – Caramel Chocolate Chip. Sorry Thin Mints fans, maybe next year they’ll offer ALL of their cookies in gluten-free, nut-free, Paleo and vegan options.
Although I’m no closer to figuring out how the food industry is managing targeted audience marketing, I feel a whole lot healthier just for researching it. For now, I’m gonna grab a bag of kelp chips while I wait for those Girl Scouts to come back next year.