The Calorie Games

When paying attention to what marketers today are telling us, it’s easy to assume that consumers are being asked to march to the middle. This is not a pathway that advocates mediocrity, but instead one based on the assumption that consumers want to balance healthy with satisfying. The silver bullet that every Mom wants is the product that tastes amazing, leaves her fully satisfied, has no calories and sends her into a state of guilt-free bliss. Has “having it all” ever been out of style? I don’t think so.

The notion of giving up or cutting back on food and drink that are delicious but unhealthy is not a new thought. Added to this dilemma is a whole new range of products that promise both more and less -– more great taste with fewer calories. 

The mid-cal options proliferating in today’s marketplace give women yet another choice to make in terms of their daily consumption. Now, there is a plethora of choices that range between 30 to 60 calories -– foods and drinks that promise a better taste than diet products but still less calories than their fully caloric counterparts.



Eating, drinking and keeping track of calorie consumption was once pretty straightforward. A diet drink equaled zero calories. A portion-sized snack pack amounted to 100 calories. Now, however, these not-quite-diet snacks and beverages add an entirely new dimension to the diet marketplace. It’s all good. But more can be more -– more consideration, more balancing and more tracking. 

Part of having one’s cake and eating it, too, means also having to pay more attention. There is a reason the Weight Watchers approach really works -– it makes participants think about what they consume while providing a simple, user-friendly way to keep track of what they put in their bodies. 

Like Weight Watchers, brands that market in this space must provide women with ways to easily track their snack and beverage calories on a daily basis while providing information and helpful tips. That is, help women select great options and combinations by craving, taste, mood or any of the other emotional reasons that prompt them to eat and drink throughout the day. Taking a break with a drink and a snack is relaxing. Keeping track of it should be, too.

Working moms have enough on their plate (pun intended). As brands add choice, they also need to take away uncertainty. Websites, apps, games, charts and experience sharing sites that help women track what they snack and drink will bring clarity to this expanding category, awareness of calorie intake and ultimately, the control that women also crave. 

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