Is sugar bad for your brand’s health?


Leave a sweet taste

Now more than ever, consumers are acutely aware of the damaging effects of sugar on our bodies. As a result of public health awareness, sugar has become aligned with terms like “addiction”, “diabetes”, and “decay”. Most of us can appreciate that a little sugar tastes good, but in today’s dietary environment this isn’t enough to outweigh the widespread negative implications that sugar carries.

In our recently-compiled Food & Drink Market Report, we marked 2015 as the year in which healthy eating messages really hit home with consumers. According to Waitrose’s Nutritional Advice Service, top searches last year included weight loss, diabetes, and sugar-free foods. These kinds of searches made clear that the public are actively seeking out nutritional information, in order to better inform their buying decisions. As we enter 2016, these increasing trends for healthy eating do not bode well for food and drink brands whose products fall into the high sugar content category.

So what does this climate mean for high sugar brands, and how are they weathering consumer trends? Is sugar bad for your brand’s health?

Jamie’s Sugar Rush 

Our emphasis in this report was the way in which food and drink brands were responding to consumer demand through their branding and product selection. In the case of high sugar brands, we were keen to explore how increasing demand for healthier products, nutritional information, and food and drink with low sugar content was altering the shape and approach of high sugar brands. 

Our first step was to examine more closely the pressures that were influencing public sugar trends. One of these key influences was Jamie’s proposed sugar tax, which would see the introduction of a 20p levy per litre on every soft drink containing added sugar, leading to an estimated reduction in sugary drink consumption by 15%. In the report, we have identified some of the measures the government would need to make in order to drive this new legislation. We also looked at some of the ways in which brands might adapt to this change, in order to improve customer perception of their products and meet demands for healthier nutrition. 

Find out how switching to sucralose could spell success for high sugar brands and their consumer appeal.

Feel-good food and drink branding

Our research into high sugar food and drink companies’ branding also uncovered something surprising. By re-aligning their branding with feel-good approaches, certain high sugar brands were not only surviving this challenging consumer climate, but were thriving in it.

Coca-Cola is a leading example of a high sugar brand that has engaged feel-good branding in order to grow its consumer base. On paper, existing consumer demands for healthier, more nutritious food and drink companies, and more transparent, accessible nutritional content, should have suggested doom for a brand like Coca-Cola, whose products have notoriously negative health implications. Despite this, Coca-Cola remains a strong market leader and a household name in countries throughout the world.

There are a number of ways the brand has achieved this, all of which are covered in the full food and drink market report. As a top level introduction, however, by re-aligning their branding with feel-good approaches and running these through their PR, advertising, marketing, and brand promotions, Coca-Cola has continued to win over the hearts of consumers globally with feel-good messages and brand authenticity.

Read all about Coca-Cola’s feel-good branding success story in our free food and drink market report.

The power of a feel-good approach

Feel-good branding encompasses a huge range of approaches. At the heart of a feel-good brand are inspirational messages, genuine values, an awareness of who you are as a company and an awareness of how you can help your consumers. In the context of food and drink and a health-conscious market, this approach carries strong potential for engaging your consumers, motivating them, and ultimately making them feel happier about themselves and your brand.

Is sugar bad for your brand’s health? Not necessarily. With creative branding, a little insight, and an authentic approach to your customer engagement, the most sugary food and drink brands can be sure to leave a sweet taste in their consumers’ mouths.

In addition to the high sugar market, we cover a wide range of food and drink topics in our market report. To find out which food and drink brands were winning in 2015, download your free copy of our market report here.