- Food marketing
Food marketing brings together the producer and the consumer. [“Food Marketing,” in Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, Brian Wansink, New York: Oxford University Press, 501-503.] It is the chain of activities that brings food from “farm gate to plate.” [ “Food Marketing,” in Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, Brian Wansink, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 501.] The marketing of even a single food product can be a complicated process involving many producers and companies. For example, fifty-six companies are involved in making one can of
chicken noodle soup. These businesses include not only chicken and vegetable processors but also the companies that transport the ingredients and those who print labels and manufacture cans. The food marketing system is the largest direct and indirect nongovernment employer in the United States.
The Three Historical Phases of Food Marketing
There are three historical phases of food marketing: the fragmentation phase (before 1870–1880), the unification phase (1880–1950), and the segmentation phase (1950 and later). In the fragmentation phase, the United States was divided into numerous geographic fragments because transporting food was expensive, leaving most production, distribution, and selling locally based. In the unification phase, distribution was made possible by railroads, coordination of sales forces was made possible by the telegraph and telephone, and product consistency was made possible by advances in manufacturing. This new distribution system was led by meat processors such as Armour and Swift in midwestern cities and by companies such as Heinz,
Quaker Oats, Campbell Soup, and Coca-Cola, which sold their brands nationally. Advertising in print media and direct marketing through demonstrations at stores and public venues were among the prime marketing tools. The initial Criscocampaign, in 1911, was an example. In the segmentation phase (1950 and later) radio and television advertising made it possible for a wider range of competing products to focus on different benefits and images and thus appeal to different demographic and psychographic markets. Distribution via the new national road system strengthened national brands. [ The Food Industry: Lifeline of America. 2nd ed. (1990) E. C. Hampe, E. C., and M. Wittenbery, New York: McGraw-Hill.]
The Food Marketing Mix and the Four Ps of Marketing
The four components of food marketing are often called the “four Ps” of the marketing mix because they relate to product, price, promotion, and place. ["
Marketing Nutrition: Soy Functional Foods, Biotechnology, and Obesity", (2007), Brian Wansink, Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.] One reason food manufacturers receive the largest percentage of the retail food dollar is that they provide the most differentiating, value-added service. The money that manufacturers invest in developing, pricing, promotion, and placing their products helps differentiate a food product on the basis of both quality and brand-name recognition.
In deciding what type of new food products a consumer would most prefer, a manufacturer can either try to develop a new food product or try to modify or extend an existing food. For example, a sweet, flavored yogurt drink would be a new product, but milk in a new flavor (such as chocolate strawberry) would be an extension of an existing product. There are three steps to both developing and extending: generate ideas, screen ideas for feasibility, and test ideas for appeal. Only after these steps will a food product make it to national market. Of one hundred new food product ideas that are considered, only six make it to a
In profitably pricing the food, the manufacturer must keep in mind that the retailer takes approximately 50 percent of the price of a product. A frozen food sold in a retail store for $4.50 generates an income of $2.25 for the manufacturer. This money has to pay for the cost of producing, packaging, shipping, storing, and selling the product.
Promoting a food to consumers is done out of store, in store, and on package. Advertisements on television and in magazines are attempts to persuade consumers to think favorably about a product, so that they go to the store to purchase the product. In addition to advertising, promotions can also include Sunday newspaper ads that offer coupons such as cents-off and buy-one-get-one-free offers.
Place refers to the distribution and warehousing efforts necessary to move a food from the manufacturer to a location where a consumer can buy it. It can also relate to the place within a store that it is located in a place like Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Walmart and many other gargantuious corporations that have yogurt in stock.
The food marketing system in the United States is an amazingly flexible one. Consumer focus helps marketers anticipate the demands of consumers, and production focus helps them respond to changes in the market. The result is a system that meets the ever-changing demands of consumers.
* [http://www.foodpsychology.cornell.edu The Cornell Food and Brand Lab]
* [http://mindlesseating.org Official "Mindless Eating" community website]
* [http://www.gamerchow.com Marketing food to the video game generation]
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