Kraft Heinz is finding ways to keep millennial consumers interested as this group is currently the biggest cohort of consumers and normally have a preference of healthier and more convenient options. CEO Bernardo Hees had spoken to The Wall Street Journal about the changes that the company will be making in order to stay relevant in the consumer market.
Though Kraft Heinz has had a loyal following, consumers are looking for healthier options. An example that Hees used was Capri Sun, a drink that was a very popular product. Hees explained that even consumers that used to enjoy the beverage in childhood would avoid it in stores now because of the sugar content and added ingredients. In response, the company has released a no-added-sugar version of Capri Sun.
The company didn’t stop there. About two years ago is when Kraft Heinz made a very noticeable change. At this time, the company removed artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its macaroni and cheese. Trying to avoid scaring away loyal customers, the company kept this change a secret from the public. When they did reveal the product revamp, customers had enough time to realize that the ingredients didn’t change the flavor. In addition, the company also removed by-products from its Oscar Mayer hotdogs.
In April, Kraft Heinz also engaged in a condiment ‘war’ with Hellmann’s. Hellmann’s had released “Hellmann’s REAL Ketchup,” which was made with all-natural ingredients and honey instead of sugar. Very soon after that, Kraft Heinz debuted their campaign for “Heinz REAL Mayonnaise.” The company took it a step further and made an interactive social media campaign, asking consumers to vote on whether or not the company should launch a mixture of their “REAL Mayonnaise” and their Ketchup, dubbed “Mayochup.”
“We know people have combined mayonnaise and ketchup for years and they are passionate about its name. That’s why we’re asking America to share their suggestions, to ensure our vision of this delicious due gets the name it deserves,” said Director of Marketing for Heinz, Nicole Kulwicki .
In response to the company’s efforts, nearly one million consumers had responded to the social media campaign. Around 55 percent of those responses were in favor of releasing the Mayochup as a permanent product, leading the company to announce the product will be available in the US this year.
Kraft Heinz is definitely not the only company that’s realizing their products might need a healthy clean up. Nestlé recently changed its Stouffer’s Marconi and Cheese to have more recognizable ingredients. The company knew that this came at the risk of losing a few customers, so they tested 15 different recipes before deciding on a final one.
Though Nestlé didn’t experience too much turbulence over this change, some companies might. It is important to note that changing or tweaking ingredients might cause some problems, even if it attracts younger consumers.
General Mills is one company that had found it quite difficult to clean up their product labels. In 2016, the company swapped the artificial colors in its Trix cereal with natural colors. However, they were not able to recreate the bright, neon colors that consumers were used to, leading consumers to comment on the brand’s “depressing” new design. General Mills eventually had to return to their original formula.
Tweaking or changing ingredients can cost food companies a lot. It’s also risky business to bet that your consumers will be pleased with these changes. However, millennials are dominating the market with demands for clean labels and healthy food, so investing in product change might just be worth it.
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