How are customers influenced by branding in the food industry?

So you have a lovey market stall at a farmer’s market, in a quaint little village and now you’re ready for the next step: you want to sell your produce further afield. You know people like the way it tastes, you have plenty of repeat customers who rave about your recipe and visit your stall week after week. Your customers are making comments like “My friends would love this” and “You need to get this in the supermarkets”. You’re thinking; ‘What a good idea, this time next year Rodney we’ll be millionaires!’.

To take a successful business from farmer’s market to supermarket, you’ll need a brand that reflects the quality of your product. It’s a fact that the way you brand your product has a massive influence on how well it sells.

Why do I need strong food branding?

We very much judge a book by its cover. The look and feel of the packaging, the product logo, the language can instantly inform a customer that your product is better than the product next to it – that your product is wholesome and your company is ethical. Of course it’s all subjective. Just because a product has green, textured card packaging, rather than shiny plastic, does not mean what’s inside will be better quality. However, if you have a great quality product, can you afford not to set it aside from the competition with a quality brand? The supermarkets and large scale producers have been playing this game for decades.

Marcello Risitano, from the Napoli Parthenope University Italy, gave out 400 questionnaires to investigate the impact of brand engagement and brand experience, to see if there were behavioural patterns linked to the food industry. He found that not only did the brand packaging play an important role in consumer’s perception of the product’s quality, but also would affect a customer’s willingness to pay a premium price for the product.

Branding products, especially in the food industry, is seen as incredibly important. Creating an eye catching brand can help you stand out from your competitors and help you to engage with your customers.

Humans make pragmatic and emotional shopping decisions

When buying something like toilet roll, we will often make a decision based on value for money. Or we will buy the same brand every time, because it’s the one we have found (after trying several others) that we feel is the best quality. There is little else to think about when buying such a product. Food can be entirely different. Many food decisions are made in an emotional way. Customers will consider the story and ethos of the company, the source and quality of the ingredients, the locality of where its produced as well as the price and appearance of the product.

Where do I start with my food branding?

Think carefully about the message you want to relay to customers and how you wish to connect with them. Start by looking at competitors who might be your neighbours when you reach that coveted shelf position.

It’s important that you choose a colour that will stand out from the others. If all the other tubs of yogurt are white, why not try black or dark blue and use white print to make your product stand out. This may also help to give the perception of a more premium product, because it would look very different from your competitors. It’s vital that you consider your logo while deciding on packaging colours – make sure they compliment each other.

Your logo communicates your brand’s ‘personality’, so you’ll need to understand what that personality is. For example, if you are producing ice cream, you may design a logo that incorporates a dairy cow with an iconic point of interest from the area in which you live, giving your product a unique, local and independent identity that consumers will (hopefully) favour.

There are many things to consider when creating a strong brand. If you’re considering a re-brand, or refreshing your packaging for your food and drink business, we would love to help.

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Nigel ReeceManaging Director

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