Ingredient Branding: The Food Industry
Ingredient branding has thrived as an accepted marketing concept since the late 1980s. Ingredient branding provides a potential for successful brand management, as well as increased sales for companies. This is because a customer will pay more attention to a product if he or she knows and comprehends the features, functions and benefits of an ingredient contained in the product. Ingredient branding is defined as a special case of co-branding which creates brand equity for components, parts or materials contained in other branded products. According to Baumgarten (2007), ingredient branding has not achieved much usage in the food industry but there are a number of examples of its use in the industry.
One example of successful ingredient branding is Hi-maize. Hi-maize is an ingredient from National Starch Food Innovation which is fully referred to as Hi-maize resistant starch. This is a white cornstarch which makes it possible for one to increase dietary fiber in flour or other foods without altering the appearance, texture or taste of the everyday foods. Using this ingredient, the National Starch Food Innovation offers a product branded as the Hi-Maize whole grain corn flour. So does this ingredient branding using the Hi-maize ingredient satisfy the four requirements of successful ingredient branding?
It satisfies the first requirement since it manages to convince the consumer that the Hi-maize ingredient matters to the usefulness of the end product. Its marketing campaign observes that the ingredient increases the intake of dietary fiber, ensures a healthy weight, works within a gluten-free diet and assists in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Outlining the features and benefits of this ingredient satisfies requirement two since it makes it look superior to any other ingredients. The ingredient also satisfies requirement three since it is marketed under a trademark that is the Hi-maize®, which is explicitly placed on the flour packets containing the ingredient (National Starch and Chemical Company, 2007). It also satisfies requirement four since the National Starch Food Innovation has developed an aggressive campaign that outlines the benefits of Hi-maize. The campaign is dubbed as “ingredients for better nutrition”, and its catch line is “it’s whole grain, high fiber and lots, lots more”.
Another example of successful ingredient branding is Nutrasweet. Nutrasweet aspartame has been an ingredient used in Coca Cola’s products such as Coke Light and Diet Coke. After its launch in the United States in the year 1981, the Nutrasweet brand enjoyed rapid growth and targeted soft drink manufacturers especially Coca Cola. Just like Hi-maize, Nutrasweet aspartame meets the four requirements of successful branding. First, it convinces consumers that the ingredient is valuable to the success of the end-product. It does this by conveying the-low-calorie, fat-free, much sweeter than sugar and suitable for diabetics-message to consumers, leading consumers of soft drinks to pay more attention to the ingredients that are listed in the packaging of such products (Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2010).
It meets the second requirement since it convinces the consumers that Nutrasweet aspartame is superior to other ingredients such as splenda. For example, its marketing campaign notes that one of its advantages over other sweeteners is that it does not cause loss of flavor and has no strong aftertaste. The ingredient also satisfies the third requirement since it is indicated using the brand name Nutrasweet aspartame on the end-product. It satisfies the fourth requirement due to its aggressive marketing campaign which has enabled it to control about three quarters of the sweetener industry. Through collaborations with major soft drink manufacturers such as Coca Cola, it has managed to obey the pull principle whereby Coca Cola’s success has had a knock-on effect on Nutrasweet without its brand name being stated explicitly on the end product. According to Baumgarten (2007), Nutrasweet now finds its use in over 3000 products all over the world. It was important to compare these two ingredients since they have had success in their respective market niches.
Baumgarten, A. (2007) The Power of Ingredient Branding. Retrieved on 14 Mar. 2014 from http://newhope360.com/managing-your-business/power-ingredient-branding
Kotler, P. & Pfoertsch, W. (2010) Ingredient Branding: Making the Invisible Visible. New York: Springer.
National Starch and Chemical Company. (2007) New Hi-maize Whole Grain Corn Flour. National Starch Food Innovation, 2007, pp. 1-6.