Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stretch the Good Food Coverage Elasticity

People will say they want healthy foods for their families and themselves, but then, once in the store, they’ll often end up purchasing the unhealthy offerings. Consequently, grocers who reallocate shelf space from low-nutrition to high-nutrition items can find sales revenues dropping. Acknowledging this, organizations aiming to eliminate food deserts—communities with such limitations on access to healthy foods that the residents suffer from poor nutrition—pitch to food retailers how media coverage about their healthy food initiatives will bring in additional foot traffic. Even if the people don’t buy the nutritious stuff, they’re likely to buy something.
     But could such publicity be done in a way that increases a desire for the healthy choices? Research findings from University of Manchester and Newcastle University, both in the UK, suggest the answer is yes. The measure in the research is called “elasticity,” defined here as the percentage change in healthy food purchases for a given percentage change in number of newspaper articles about healthy food consumption.
     Analyzing press coverage and grocery store purchases in a specific geographical area over two years, the researchers found:
  • For general food categories, the positive elasticity was insignificant. A higher number of newspaper articles had little effect on the amount of subsequent healthy food purchases. However, when the articles were specifically about organic, wholegrain, and low-salt products, there was good elasticity. The more articles, the more healthy food purchases resulted. 
  • The articles having the greatest impact were full of praise for healthy eating, sidestepping any of the negatives. Press coverage that debated healthy food consumption actually had a negative elasticity: The more articles, the fewer were the subsequent purchases of healthy food. 
     You may have limited say in whether a media journalist or online content producer writes just about your healthy food items and does so uncritically. More control comes with your advertising budget. Advertise your healthy foods initiatives using unabashed enthusiasm.
     Still, there's a challenge with food advertising. Researchers at University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University find that advertising elasticity has decreased significantly over the years, and the elasticity is greater for durable goods—such as refrigerators—than for consumables—such as the food people keep in those refrigerators. That same research does indicate ad elasticity is higher at the time a grocer kicks off a healthy food initiative than later, when it’s been in operation for a while. So advertise early.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Crack the Code of the Healthy Snacker
Sprout Homegrown in Healthy Foods

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