Leveraging Taste-Related Ad Claims When Expectations are Low

When CPG marketing leverages taste correctly, food and beverage products in categories with low taste expectations can stand out from competitors and build brand loyalty.

While taste preferences are subjective, consumers expect that certain products will taste “good” regardless of the brand simply because of their food preferences. For example, while a consumer may have a brand preference for marinara sauce, the fact that they enjoy marinara, in general, creates a certain expectation for the entire category. 

But what about food and beverage categories that aren’t always regarded for their great taste? This might include pantry staples, better-for-you alternatives, fermented foods, or even products with innovative ingredients or flavor profiles most consumers may not be familiar with. While advertising health claims makes a lot of sense in this category, the low expectation regarding taste is a massive opportunity. 

When a customer is pleasantly surprised that a product really does taste better than others in the same category, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll remain loyal to that brand. However, it’s important to note that taste-related ad claims regarding taste in these categories must be substantiated since consumers are already wary of their taste. 

Analyze Taste Through Third-Party Blind Food Tasting

In the example above, the hypothetical consumer expects that most brands within the marinara category will possess attributes that they enjoy. Perhaps it’s the vegetal flavor of fresh tomatoes or the savory notes of olive oil. Whatever the case, the majority of products in the marinara category possess those attributes. Their preferred brand, however, will usually highlight features they find most desirable.

That’s why it’s essential for products with low taste expectations to determine what the main taste attributes of their category are and which attributes consumers find most desirable. Additionally, this type of market research will help determine which attributes are not desirable. For example, many protein powders have a chalky taste that even regular customers don’t enjoy. 

One of the most ethical ways to accomplish this is through third-party blind food tasting. This third party should have experience in sensory testing so as to be able to accurately compile data that can substantiate any taste-related ad claims. Not only will this more effectively support ad claims like “great tasting,” but it also helps consumers understand how your products compare to competitors. 

Once research has discovered what the category’s main taste attributes are, it’s important for advertising to highlight the attributes a product most clearly possesses. Conversely, advertising a lack of undesirable attributes can be beneficial as well. 

Advertise Quality Food Awards

While the type of market research described above is necessary, quality food awards can accomplish some of the same things while also substantiating taste-related ad claims.

At ChefsBest, our team of sensory experts will define the product category, conduct a blind food tasting against competitors, and then use a science-based sensory evaluation to determine whether the product surpasses certain food-tasting standards

If a product surpasses the quality definition and doesn’t contain notable sensory flaws, it earns award licensing for packaging in the form of our ChefsBest Medallion. Not only will this help customers who are new to the category make buying decisions, but it may also encourage customers of competitors to switch brands. 

Leverage Taste Through High-Quality Marketing Assets

Considering the nature of many products in these categories, education and engagement are pivotal. This can be accomplished effectively with high-quality marketing assets.

Since many of these products require a certain amount of education about health-related claims, it creates an opportunity to also educate people about any taste-related ad claims and quality food awards. High-quality images, videos, and recipes are some of the best marketing assets to accomplish this. 

On top of being visually appealing, they can highlight important features and help potential customers understand different ways they can use the product. The latter is particularly important for products intended to be used as an ingredient in other dishes. 

Many fermented foods, for example, can create complex savory, acidic, or even spicy notes in other dishes. Protein powders can be used in dessert-like recipes to increase their nutritional value. Additionally, the use of images and recipes on social media is a great way to encourage engagement and to get people talking about your products.

Want insight from an expert in the industry? Tune in to Why Taste is Key in Better-For-You Food & Beverage Products. In this episode of our podcast, Beyond the Shelf,  Kristi and David Vartanian of TiDBiTS Candy share insights into what led them to create a line of better-for-you candy, why candy was late to the better-for-you trend, and why it’s so important for them to highlight their product’s simple ingredient lists and great flavor in their marketing efforts.

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