Making food deliciously addictive, as Lay’s did in its clever TV ad, became advertising gold. In the decades that followed, oreos And Freezer Waffles (“Leggo My Eggo!”) were portrayed as so irresistible that people started fighting over them. A popular stoner film, “Harold and Kumar go to the White Castle“Describes two friends’ obsession with fast-food sliders.
Craveability became such a selling point that Kellogg’s jumped on the bandwagon and named the chocolate-filled cereal Crave. High-ranking chefs were not immune. Christina Tosi, known for her ultra-sweet desserts milk bar Shops, one of them named Crack Pie.
But now we are in the Ozempic era. A class of new drugs that eliminate food cravings while keeping the body fresh scientific study, has focused on the relationship between addiction and food. Ultra-processed foods, made from cheap industrial ingredients and possibly as addictive as tobacco or gamblingEmerging as a national concern.
What should a food marketer do? some who work or study in the country $1 trillion food industry Describe that moment as no more than a speed bump. Food companies are adept at finding new ways to ride cultural waves and retain customers for second helpings.
Others say it’s a watershed moment in the way Americans eat and will change the way companies sell food.
“This is an existential threat to the food industry and certainly an existential threat to the processed food industry,” said Marion NestleAn emeritus professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University who has written extensively on food policy and science. “You’re getting all these things coming together in a way they’ve never come together before.”
In the 1960s, when Lay’s dared the nation to protest, “it didn’t occur to anyone that wanting more chips could be bad,” said Steve Siegelman, an executive creative director at the marketing firm Ketchum. Who have worked with Beef Industries, Kikkoman and Häagen-Dazs.
Treating food as distasteful or craveable has already begun to fall out of favor, he said, but it’s perfectly acceptable as a business-to-business strategy. For example, Hidden Valley Ranch uses the slogan “Give them the cup they wantIn its advertisements in restaurant trade publications.
Overuse, he said, has begun to weaken Crave’s marketing power. Mike Kostyo, Vice president of Menu Matters, a food industry consulting company whose clients include brands such as Dunkin’ and Del Monte Foods. But as an underlying concept, he said, it’s not going away.
“It’s very important in how we market so many foods,” he said. “All that imagery of oozing cheese and the sound of crunching.”
Mr. Kostyo said many customers have asked him how worried they should be about the wild popularity of drugs like semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic and Vegovy) and tirazepate (in Monzaro), which people refer to as “food noise.” To describe gives credit for silencing. ,” or persistent thoughts about food. He tells them it is too early to say.
He said, if the addictive nature of a snack ceases to sell, the industry will find something else that will.
Food companies faced a similar challenge in the early 1990s, when fat was cast as the diet demon. They responded with products like snackwells, A line of fat and cholesterol-free cookies that were so popular that they were often in short supply. Baked Lays, with fewer calories and less fat than the original, spawned a $50 million ad campaign featuring supermodels fishing Or to gamble, Slogan: “You can eat like a boy, but still look like a girl.” Of course, the ads ended with Lay’s time-tested tagline.
Former New York Times reporter Michael Moss, who has written two books detailing how some food companies use science, marketing and political influence to sway consumers to their products, doesn’t expect something like Ozempic to work. Medicines will make no difference.
“Making us lose control is part of their business plan,” he said of the processed food industry. “I was talking to an industry lobbyist who said vitamin O scares us as much as Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign to get kids to eat better and exercise more.
In its recent annual report on the food and beverage industry, market research company Mintel said consumer demand for minimally processed food will increase, and suggested that manufacturers focus on the benefits of food processing, such as enhancing freshness or promoting food safety. .
The report also posits a strategy to sell products with no nutritional value: “Brands that produce excessive, excessively, or ultra-processed food and beverage products are designed to remind consumers of the pleasure and comfort these products provide.” There will be a need to get it.”
But instead of telling consumers what a product can do for them, many marketers try to find out what they want through social media, said Caitlin Reynolds, executive vice president of advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi. .
“It’s like an unexpected focus group that runs 24/7,” he said.
In 2021, Ms. Reynolds led a team that created an award winning advertising campaign Inspired by the shutdown phase of the pandemic for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, when people posted that they ate the snacks by the handful while working from home. Multi-platform campaign unveiled boban marjanoviC, with NBA player biggest hands, Catch as many crackers as you can.
Although goldfish is a staple in households with young children, this snack has become a best-seller among teens who grew up eating it. “Gen Z loves nostalgia,” Ms. Reynolds said.
And although brand integrity matters to members of Generation Z, according to Menu Matters’ Mr. Kostyo, along with cereal bowls and nut milks, they don’t have the same health focus as the Millennial generation.
“With Gen Z we see a movement away from that,” he said. “They like candy and Taco Bell and TikTok-y food.”
Strategies to sell food to Generation Z and its successor Alpha, the oldest members of which are 14, rely less on a message repeated in traditional advertising and more on the clever use of social media. These also include fun, outrageous collaborations between brands, like Nacho Cheese Dorito-Flavored Liquor The snack giant recently teamed up with Empirical, a company started by alumni of Copenhagen restaurant Noma.
Still, some companies are sticking to the old get-’em-hooked approach. In 2022, Taco Bell introduced a subscription offer that purchased one taco per day for $10 for a month. In November, it added a Subs for Nacho Fries,