Exploring How CPG Companies Can Promote Healthy Living with the Help of Electronic Notebooks
From 2011 to 2012, approximately 68.5 percent of American adults and 31.8 percent of children were considered overweight or obese. To get a better idea of the extent of this epidemic consider the following: American adults are now 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960 and childhood obesity has nearly tripled since 1980. Though rates have begun to stabilize, the “new normal” is not nearly normal enough given that there are significant health risks associated with being overweight or obese, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and acquiring Type 2 Diabetes. Given these dangers, it proves no surprise that some employers and insurance companies are now paying their members to exercise and the Affordable Care Act provides a number of provisions for preventative care services. In this milieu, what is the role of consumer packaged good (CPG) companies?
Consumers, CPG Companies and Weight
In a recent study on health consciousness and consumer behaviors, authors Robert Mai and Stefan Hoffmann write, “…many consumers still tend to over-consume unhealthy foods because…[it] is widely associated with being tasty, and taste is the main driver of food decisions.” Thus, there seems to be an a negative correlation between healthy food and tastiness in the minds of consumers. The authors stress “healthy foods [must be made] more appealing, by improving the actual taste as well as the packaging and marketing…”
It is here where CPG companies stand to gain the most, and have already begun to make traction. For example, 100-calorie packs have become popular alternatives for a variety of brand-name snacks. In fact, a 2007 article published in the New York Times reported that in three years, “sales of 100-calorie packs of crackers, chips, cookies and candy have passed the $200 million-a-year mark.” Beyond the actual foods that are created, Packaging Digest also documents the increased demand for consumers to “understand what is and isn’t good for us,” and this information should be displaced “both quickly and concisely” to enable informed decisions about food.
Electronic Notebooks to Support the Hard Work Ahead
Food Manufacturing magazine describes healthy food products as “arguably the most compelling trend in today’s…CPG environment…[but] is also the hardest on which to capitalize…” However, the use of digital technology, such as electronic notebooks, can go a long way toward enabling CPG companies to do just that:
- Healthy food development with taste quality in mind: Determining the type and amount of ingredients needed to designate a food “healthy” requires a significant amount of trial, error and ultimately research efforts. Digital notebooks bring together chefs, researchers and physicians in a digital interface capable of linking a variety of information together (ingredients, healthy food characteristics, etc.) in an easily searchable database. Information is rendered flexible enough for multiple individuals to edit, but secure enough to control who has access to proprietary files. Additionally, information can be uploaded in a variety of ways thus facilitating the movement of ideas from recipe to healthy product to marketing, and more.
- Creating the best packaging for healthy food products: Engaging and clearly labeled packaging can go a long way toward inspiring consumer behavior. As a group of researchers described in the journal PNAS, the color, brightness and general characteristics of a product’s packaging can influence shoppers. CPG companies can use electronic notebooks to capitalize on this research. By providing an area to record notes and ideas in a variety of formats, design and product team members can work together to design packaging in ways that inspire their purchase.
- Costs saving, for both the company and consumers: The materials used by CPG companies to package their products can be carefully monitored using electronic notebooks and new, cheaper materials can be carefully tested by integrating data machinery, such as spectrophotometers, with digital notebooks. In this way, the appropriate safety measures are followed, while companies find cheaper ways to present healthy food items. Beyond less expensive materials, the use of electronic notebooks facilitates product development throughout the discovery process, thus reducing costs associated with repeated meetings, misplaced materials and lab notebooks, not enough or too much material orders, etc. Ultimately, the costs saved in developing healthy products means those products will be more affordable for consumers and thus more accessible to a greater number of individuals.
Altogether, electronic notebooks are an excellent medium through which CPG companies can develop a “cohesive brand strategy” concerning healthy foods by applying their research efforts toward carefully documenting food tastes, packaging, visual attractiveness and more in a manner that is quickly accessible to various members of a team thus enabling a fast turnaround from idea to product. To learn more about how the BIOVIA Notebook can assist your firm’s efforts, please visit our website today.