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The better-for-you, health & wellness market is one of the fastest growing, but taste and texture are still the primary drivers. Food consultant Julian Mellentin writes.

In the midst of everything that is written about health and nutrition trends, and the debate about what is and isn’t healthy, what tends to get overlooked is that taste and texture trump everything.

What people want most from a product is a ‘healthier’ message that gives them permission to enjoy themselves and still feel good about their choices.

As a result, positioning a product as ‘permission to indulge’ has consistently proven to be one of the smartest strategies any company can adopt. Portion control, naturalness, ‘free from what’s bad’, choosing ‘naturally healthy’ ingredients – these are all strategies that let people enjoy your product without guilt.

One of the best examples is Oreo Thins, the ‘better for you’ variant of the world’s most successful cookie brand. In the US, Thins picked up $100 million in first year sales – all incremental business – with its promise of enjoyment without guilt. It’s a similar story in most countries – and it has achieved this despite selling at a 100 per cent premium to regular Oreos.

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