04 | Food & beverage is a key change catalyst – especially natural/organic products

Looking at the various drivers of change for health and environmental reasons, the key shared catalyst is greater consumption of environmentally sound food and beverage. In particular, the sweet spot is natural/organic products, the consumption of which is considered a key trait for both healthy and environmentally sound people. Eating less meat and dairy is also associated with both, but to a lesser extent.

Graph: Associate natural with healthy

​​Looking at specific products, consumers consider 100% juice to be the healthiest (on 57%, ahead of water on 47%) and also the most environmentally sound (on 44%). White milk and coconut also rate highly on both. Generally, there is a strong correlation between health and environment for most categories, further demonstrating how intertwined these two areas are.

“Natural” is a term that particularly appeals to consumers, again perhaps because it can be closely associated with both health and environment. It rates highest for the most appealing descriptor of food and drink products on 50%.

Graph: Good for health and environment

What does “natural” mean to consumers?

“Natural” is a non-specific term that can have significantly different interpretations. In an Ipsos survey conducted across 28 countries, consumers were asked what “natural” meant to them if communicated on food or beverage packaging. Significantly, “healthy” was in the top three most commonly associated attributes (on 43%), behind “without artificial ingredients” (52%) and “100% from nature” (44%).

Demographics make a difference: younger age groups (under 35) are more likely to associate “natural” with “organic” (34%), while older age groups (50 to 64) tend to believe it to mean “without artificial ingredients” (57%). Females are also significantly more likely to focus on the ingredients, while males are more likely to associate natural with “authentic”.

Geographically speaking, there are more consistencies than differences across the markets surveyed. However, “sustainably produced” ranks particularly highly in Germany (on 23%), while “ethically produced” stands out in China (on 19%), rating higher than any other market.​

Mengniu carton package on plate, Tetra Prisma Aseptic

Case study: Mengniu Milk Deluxe (China)

Mengniu is the leading player in China’s high-growth premium ambient white milk market, continually finding innovative ways to strengthen its position. The recent successful relaunch of its Milk Deluxe organic brand is a great example, leveraging both new processing techniques and new packaging to create a product with more protein and better mouthfeel, plus a new on-the-go consumption occasion.

Launched in May 2018, the new product was packed in Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 250 Edge  with DreamCapTM 26 cartons – a global first for white milk. Marketing focused on its organic, natural, quality credentials, highlighting that the milk was fully traceable, sourced from a certified organic farm in a pristine environment, from well-cared-for cows fed on a wide range of grasses.

The launch campaign included massive TVC airing and outdoor advertising, plus BTL displays and roadshows. The brand also sponsored Super Vocal, a popular Chinese TV talent contest.

The result was a sales growth surge and brand share increase from 44% to 48% (Q2 2018 versus Q2 2019). This success was followed in June 2019 by the launch of a range of Milk Deluxe-branded health-positioned products, all in the same package, further building on the relationship between organic/natural and health.

Read press release ​​​​​​​​Mengniu revitalises organic milk using Tetra Pak solutions​​

Read the next section: Barriers to change remain, but are evolving​​

Infographic: associate natural with healthy