March 19, 2014

The Public Is Craving Information About the Food You Produce-So Feed it To Them With Content

Right now, we are in the middle of a widespread crackdown on food visibility in the U.S. As the FDA continues to update its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which will increase visibility around the way that food is grown and handled, the public is not far behind.

In fact, according to a recent Cone Communications survey, 74 percent of people say that companies need to do a better job of explaining environmental practices that differentiate them from other brands. Consumers want to know where their food is grown, how it is handled and how it got from the farm to their fork. As we move forward, the brands that can provide this information will stand out from the rest.

But this widespread push for visibility in the food industry goes deeper than figuring out where products come from. Consumers have a lot of other concerns, too. In fact, the study indicates that 93 percent of consumers believe safety is a top concern, while 92 percent want to know more information about the nutritional components of their produce. Here are some other interesting statistics from the survey:

  • 74 percent of customers would prefer to buy locally grown products, and 66 percent would actually pay more for them
  • 69 percent want sustainable packaging
  • 38 percent of customers want companies to “do the right thing.”

But due to commoditization in the food industry, consumers often look past the label at the supermarket, casting their eyes first and foremost at the price. In a down economy, food manufacturers can no longer count on corralling customers while they are in the supermarket. The battle for consumer attention needs to be won online before they even step foot in-store. They have to see your blog and read about it at home, on their commute or at work. In other words, the key to differentiation is the story behind your product and your brand—and that is what you need to focus on.

Content marketing is the key to ensuring that your customers know who your brand is, how you package your food and why your processes are different from every other competing brand vying to fill up consumers’ kitchen cabinets. How can customers know that your company “does the right thing” simply by the label on your box? You need to craft blog posts and articles that will inform why your company goes above and beyond. You need to show them the behind-the-scenes story of it all, including pictures of the growing, cleaning and distribution process.

In this case, you’re not advertising. Content marketing is an opportunity to take your customers on a guided tour throughout the supply chain, showing them every farm and factory that it crosses through as well as the people that work there. You can even include fun recipes and showcase the ways in which your staff helps support the community via charitable efforts or unique campaigns.

In an era dominated by product recalls, such as the recent instance where a leading frozen foods manufacturer was caught distributing diseased meat in its products, customers and store managers are digging deeper than ever before for information about your brand. It’s up to you to tell your own story and to control your narrative through custom content. Show them why you are a cut above the rest and they will reward you with business. 


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