Probiotic players obsessed with winning health claims needn’t bother as consumers don’t value them anyway, a leading consultant says.
The president and founder of the Healthy Marketing Team, Peter Wennstrom, said the €20bn category had enough credible science and consumer support to move ahead without approved health claims if it invested in education campaigns.
“Consumers are turning their backs on health claims,” Wennstrom told the recent Probiota conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which was organized by NutraIngredients.
He told the packed congress active consumer education and smart communication that connected with consumers was a better way to go and far more effective than ‘old school’ health claim strategies.
Education before claims
Speaking with us today he said, “The connection to consumers is missing. The probiotic industry has lost connection with consumers for many reasons but it boils down to the managers being male middle aged technologists or economists recruited to run production rather than consumption.”
“One of the conclusions from observing the probiotic and prebiotic categories as well as other health related categories is the need to invest in education before claims in order to grow a category profitably. And it means that you must educate about your category before you educate about your brand. This is unfortunately constantly forgotten by a claims focus industry who want proprietary claims.”
“So my simple message to the industry is that a claims strategy must be a part of an education strategy to be successful.”
Wennstrom said the sector had a powerful basis to work with – the concept of live active bacteria.
“This is the message that needs emphasising.”