By Sheri Kasper & Stephanie Ferrari, Guest Bloggers
The grocery store is an intimidating place in 2016. Consumers are (rightfully) confused and incredibly anxious about what to buy. At the same time, they are more conscious of their food choices than ever before. It seems like every product is touting a “Free of [insert the perceived villain(s) of choice].” This clip from the movie Bad Moms does a nice job summing up the current food shopping (and school bake sale) experience:
Funny but true…and scary! This is why every food company (and retailer) looking to market based on nutritional value needs to have a dietitian on their marketing team. Dietitians have the expertise and credibility to help brands navigate the complicated nutrition world in a way that appeals to both consumers and the health professionals making product recommendations to those consumers every day. Here are five reasons why a dietitian is an important member of your marketing team:
1. Credibility = Trust
Consumers are hungry for credible guidance on what to eat, how much and why. Dietitians have a unique skillset that can help increase consumer trust in your brand. And, they want to work with brands that they respect, use and believe to be part of a healthy diet. There is nothing more powerful than a relatable, well-spoken and sincerely passionate nutrition advocate.
2. Nutrition is an evolving science
Staying up-to-date on the latest science is crucial to nutrition and marketing. For example, when the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated, as they were this past year, you may need new messaging and a different approach to marketing your products to ensure that they align with the new guidelines. Or, your product might be even better situated for target marketing to a certain demographic based on new recommendations. Dietitians are perfectly equipped to help companies take advantage of these opportunities.
3. Dietitians know other dietitians (and doctors, foodies and other influencers)
The nutrition world is small. If you have a dietitian consulting on your brand, he or she can easily reach a whole army of nutrition-expert advocates. There is also camaraderie and mutual respect for other nutrition professionals. Many of the trade publications in dietetics only accept articles authored by dietitians. Similarly, education sessions at conferences are typically led by dietitians specializing in varying aspects of the field. Having a dietitian on your team opens up a world of opportunity and a network of influential contacts.
4. Value (nutrition education resources, healthy recipes, etc.)
Health practitioners can be wary about promoting specific brands. But, if you are able to provide science-based, objective resources that have a more subliminal message, the materials are likely to be used. For example, if your product is a perfect complement to a packed lunch, you may work with a dietitian to create a resource highlighting creative, healthy lunch box ideas for distribution to pediatrician offices during back-to-school season.
5. Media and Issues Management
This comes back to points 1 and 2: When new science threatens the reputation of your product, you need a credible expert to interpret the science, present a counter-point to balance the conversation and defend your product’s role in a healthy diet. This person (hint: it’s a dietitian) can speak on your behalf—whether it be in traditional or digital media, one-on-one influencer relations or directly with your customers.
FRESH Communications is a Boston-based consultancy exclusively servicing the food and beverage industries, with an emphasis on health and wellness. The company was founded by Sheri Kasper and Stephanie Ferrari, two moms on a mission to use their expertise as dietitians and marketing experts to help healthy food companies creatively share their story in ways that both broaden reach and increase market share. FRESH services include media relations, brand ambassadorship, recipe development, health professional relations, and more. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.