Where To, Youth Wellness?

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the youth wellness issue is here to stay. In fact, with a new and socially minded administration in place, the ever-growing concern of parents and the public health community, the focus on youth wellness will get even more intense!

Less obvious are the ways the food industry can address wellness. If you're the manager of a large established kid food brand or an innovation manager tasked with creating new offerings that promote kid wellbeing and strong financial returns -- what should you be doing today to ensure business and program success tomorrow?

The truth is that the great majority of commercial responses to these challenges have been failures. In 2007, approximately 300 kid "better for you" (BFY) offerings were introduced. Only a handful of these were still on-shelf in 2008.

Our research would indicate that most marketers are using similar but flawed approaches to create their kid BFY programs. So in response, we offer the following five insights from multiple studies on kid wellness and the advanced kid and consumer trends impacting it.



These insights pave the way for a whole new approach to jump-starting established brands and creating new ones that are more effective and more credible in promoting child well-being. They should also generate the kind of financial returns your organization demands.

#1. The latest breakthroughs in nutritional fortification are at the BOTTOM of mom's list of priorities: The number of sexy sounding new nutritional additives, such as Omega 3s, that are cascading in from our food scientists is nothing short of amazing, but still not mom's priority.

#2. Kid Delight Is a Huge MOM Benefit: Many past kid wellness products had included stripping out "the fun" to make way for the health. The truth is that moms already have plenty of healthy food options for her child, but she still wants to "want" the product ... it must be fun and healthy.

#3. Driving kid delight ... a huge kid and mom need ... happens most effectively in the mouth rather than out-of-the-mouth fun. So how do you build fun into a product? Simply put: "in mouth" yummy taste and texture trumps "out of mouth" colors, shapes and gimmicks.

#4. Your most valuable corporate asset may be your ADULT BFY brands (not your kid brands). Most marketers think that their most valuable corporate assets for winning in the kid space are their KID brand equities. However, if you look at existing in-market successes in the kid BFY space, every one of them grew out of what we refer to as "the nutritional anchor" approach to BFY innovation.

#5. Moms' greatest unmet needs are for products and programs that promote her child's emotional health, not physical health. 99% of all the new kid BFY products launched over the last five years have celebrated functional health benefits like reduced sugar or added fiber. Good for mom and kid, but not good enough. Moms are telling us something else. They are telling us that their prioritization of child well-being has expanded well beyond this one dimensional definition to include things like emotional health, helping their child cope with the crushing stress they experience, nurturing their creative self expression, or promoting self-esteem.

Can a food brand credibly deliver these things? You bet it can. Just ask Kellogg, which is driving the Frosted Flakes brand to unprecedented levels through the positioning platform of "confidence to succeed," or Goldfish, which is positioned around "nurturing optimism," or Gatorade's development of a leading kid beverage by exhorting kids to "Just Do It!"

So while functional health is a critical element of kid wellness and something we all must be pursuing, stopping there overlooks the a range of much more unique and motivating kid wellbeing benefits that moms and kids are crying out for help with -- but not getting.

At Just Kid, we think it is a product that finds the perfect intersection of eating right and kid delight, products that deliver in the mouth taste rather than out of the mouth fun. Success is found in products that have looked beyond their core for functional health to a core wellbeing value that lets them stand for something bigger in kids' lives than low sugar or added calcium. Make sense? We think so, because we live with these questions and innovations every day!

1 comment about "Where To, Youth Wellness?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Jan Zlotnick from the zlotnick group, June 3, 2009 at 12:57 p.m.

    I hope CMO's have the attention span to read this...or at least print out and highlight the 5 insights. Particularly Insight #5: "Moms are telling us something else" -- which links with the huge counter-intuitive #4 of considering ADULT BFY over KID BFY

    If CMO's and the creative teams genuinely care and take time to rethink counter-intuitively, they can create messages that not only work better to the brand's and agency's bottom lines -- but ARE better for the human beings who produce that bottom line. -- Jan Zlotnick Strategic-Creative Mktg Dir

Next story loading loading..