Life would be wonderful if we were all perfect, but we are not. Eating healthily and affordably is frequently cited by people as a frustrating ambition, often not attained due to lifestyle and time pressure.
The idealists would suggest eating healthily and affordably is easy, based on a few key commandments that start with planning ahead and not buying on impulse. But this doesn’t really reflect actual decisions that have to be made by people with frenetically busy lifestyles, when probably 70% of choices are being made out and about rather than anywhere near the home.
Other rules purveyed by the experts include: never let things go to waste; buy in bulk; buy things you can use in many ways; know your freezer better. These rules are all well and good if you have big storage space, know how to cook and can prepare meals from scratch, along with running an active family and household. They are not that helpful when you are on the go and need healthy, affordable food and drink at your fingertips.
My point is that impulse behaviour will continue to grow, yet ‘properly healthy’ and affordable choices on the go are lagging. Talking to a retailer recently about healthy snacking and till points, it was hard to spontaneously define brands that genuinely deserve to take this space and confidently boast green and amber nutritionals, along with great taste and a good price.
Convenience has become a fundamental part of people’s lives. The penalty when it comes to health and convenience seems to be the price you have to pay.
A classic example is when you grab a meal deal with crisps and a drink you can get what you need for £3.29. If you want a healthy version including a pot of fruit, salad, water and a healthy snack, you can be paying up to £9, all in the cause of being a bit healthier.
Three guiding factors I would engage when looking to satisfy people’s need to eat affordably healthy choices out of home would be: redefine favourites - create intrinsically healthier green and amber food and drink in familiar product and pack formats that already connote an everyday mainstream taste perception, yet cost just 10% more.
Low-cost healthy start points: Start with simple, honestly good, cheaper yet healthy ingredients and innovate around those. Don’t fill products with fancy ingredients that require behaviour reappraisal, raise cost of goods and generate more questions than solve problems in store.
Convenient formats: In times of distress when a solution is being sought, convenience will inspire the purchase, but healthiness and good price will tip the affordably healthy choice your way.
Claire Nuttall is founder of The Brand Incubator