Key Takeaways for Healthy Product Marketing

By understanding current habits and behaviors limiting consumption, fresh produce retailers and marketers can change the game to break through consumers’ perceptions and increase consumption.  Here are 3 takeaways from the "Drivers and Barriers for Produce Consumption in the U.S." research:

Healthful Claims Should Not Be Relied On

Consumers have learned to associate “healthy” with qualities that are the opposite of what they desire, from an emotional perspective, when it comes to the eating experience.  Healthful claims should not be relied on solely to drive consumption without being framed with the experiential qualities of the foods that people are seeking. For example:

A. Communicate that a food is comforting and associated with relief for anxiety, stress or upset.

B. Communicate that a food complements and enhances a joyful mood.

C. Communicate that a food fulfills needs to feel energized.


Consumers’ Food Choices Are Driven by Where, When, and With Whom

Food holds complex and important connections to cultural and social contexts and personal identity.  Consumers’ food choices are driven by where, when, and with whom they are eating.  Messaging should take into account contextual cues and social norms that might compete with or help motivate healthful eating.  For example:

A. Depict how a food provides the perfect foil for a certain event or occasion.

B. Communicate how a food reinforces a consumer’s aspirational self – the type of person they want to be, what social group they want to fit in with, what will provide them with a sense of pride and belonging.

C. Communicate how a food will meet functional needs in the moment. These include both nutritional needs/cravings (hydration, protein, etc.) and practical requirements for convenience, aesthetic presentation, etc.


Communicate Taste In Emotional Terms

Taste is deeply intertwined with consumers’ emotions.  In fact, this tie is reflected in our language when we use expressions such as “Sweet!” or “It was a bittersweet moment.”  An "acerbic response” to refer to feelings.  Tap into this by communicating taste in emotional terms. For example:

A. Use words that are more typically used to describe decadent/indulgent foods.

B. Employ descriptors that speak to a flavor experience.

SXSW 2019


"Tap Primal Instincts to Fuel Your Food Movement"

Session Speakers:

ADAM COOPER - The Wonderful Company

LISA CORK - Fresh Produce Marketing

LAUREN M SCOTT - Produce Marketing Association

STEPHEN X. SPRINGFIELD - Sentient Decision Science


Date: March 12, 2019 Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM


SXSW Session Details

PMA Event Details




Sentient Decision Science innovative market research approach measures the emotions of consumers to predict & change behavior to make an impact. To leverage consumer emotions for your next marketing campaign, download the The Sentient 26 Emotional Taxonomy.  This Emotional Motivation Framework will help you tap into the consumer subconscious.


PMA is a trade organization representing companies from every segment of the global fresh produce and floral supply chain.  PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption.

Contact Sentient about how our research can make an impact for you.