Five things customers REALLY want from their food

The consumer is no longer a simple animal. There is the paradox of choice that renders most people incapable of change. 85% of our food purchases never change. Most people eat the same sandwich for lunch every day. Online ordering from Ocado, Just Eat etc reminds us what we bought last time and, despite all the interrupters in the world, the majority of people get the same stuff

So what’s the secret to getting people to buy more food – what do they REALLY want?

  1. To save money – I talk to a lot of food start ups who are all creating premium brands. There are niches for these but the majority of people have little money so think about ways you can save the customer money and yet create value and profit at the same time – Aldi and Lidl have managed it!
  2. To eat really tasty food – it is important that food tastes good – it seems obvious but how many people have bought a snack bar that tastes like ground up shoes? Or had a sandwich that is bland, soggy and uninteresting? People want to enjoy their food! So many worthy brands do not deliver on taste – yet the successful ones do – making it yummy and scrummy is the key so long as you observe the next point…..
  3. To stay healthy –not everyone is obsessed with health but many consumers want to know that the manufacturer has thought it through – kept the salt low, not put in dodgy fats, high sugar or other additives.  So many premium own label ready meals, such as Finest and Taste the difference, are high in fat or salt or both – it does make it tasty but there needs to be a balance
  4. To treat themselves and add joy to their lives – most people view treats as unhealthy – wine, cheese or chocolate. But it provides a short term fix of joy. The only product I have found that is a healthy treat is sushi – which does actually research as both.  People use food to help them feel better eg when something bad happens, breaking up the monotony of the day with a great lunch sandwich or demonstrating how foodie they are by having the latest recipe or ingredient. So create amazing happy products both in their recipes and marketing
  5. To add joy to others – as we approach Christmas, this is the backbone of the retailer adverts. Creating amazing food to share, impress and please others. To make life easy when entertaining, to demonstrate our cleverness at finding such interesting products or just showing the love by feeding others

And what is missing from that list? Actually to provide the body with nourishment and fuel for the day – the real purpose of eating!! But somehow that has become a given – I did some research on diet foods recently and we got 20 reasons why people eat before we actually got to “to stay alive”

So when designing your products, creating marketing stories or choosing positioning, it is important to think about which of these basic needs are you fulfilling. Try this 3 point plan to draw up what your customer really wants

  1. Who are your buyers? Use your social media or sales data to get a feel for the demographics).
  2. What do they really want – what is their key goal from the 5 – are they living to eat or eating to live?
  3. How do they think? Are they cautious people or spontaneous? Innovators or laggards – if they don’t like change – can you force it upon them or do you just get them to buy more

What is their decision tree for buying products and how can you catch them through marketing, packaging design or merchandising as they shop

If you would like more detail on this subject, chapter 3 of my book Recipe for success – ingredients of a profitable food company is a good place to start. Click here to order on Amazon

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