[VIDEO] Mars: Deliberate capitalisation on consumer ignorance?

[VIDEO] Mars: Deliberate capitalisation on consumer ignorance?

‘Healthy’ is fast becoming a commodity, with brands left, right and centre jumping on the trend to appeal to this shift in consumer demand, whether it’s low fat, organic or sports related. This alone explains why sales of protein bars in the UK grew by 58% last year, putting the total value of the category to an impressive £22 million.

In this week’s video, we’re looking at Mars Inc who have released a protein version of their classic Mars and Snickers bars, debating whether the surge in growth can be put down to deliberate capitalisation or consumer ignorance around the genuine health benefits. They’re not the only ones to have expanded their product portfolio to exploit the benefits of this growing market but the Mars Inc case provides definite food for thought.

Check out the video to see why timely reaction is everything and learn from Muller Yoghurts mistake…

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Video Transcript
Protein, back in the day you can only buy these at the gyms but now it has completely changed. Protein now is a multimillion pound industry and the number of products that claim to contain high protein skyrocketed by almost 500% in the last 5 years.

Sales of protein bars in the UK grew by 58% last year – to an impressive £22m, it’s quite clear it’s all about the gains!

All of this is a result of a modern consumer, who is now more health concious than ever before. There was a huge increase in people taking physical activities, eating healthier, getting more sleep and in general being more aware of what they are putting into their body.

As “healthy” is becoming mainstream, this is a perfect opportunity for brands to extend into new markets. And it’s already started with Weetabix Protein, to Nature Valley Protein Bars, to Special K Protein.

But today I want to focus on Mars Inc.

They launched a new protein version of their Mars & Snicker chocolate bars in May this year.

So let’s see what the fuss is about.

Is it healthier?

Does it have that much protein in?

Or is protein just a buzzword?

So let’s take a look at the nutritional information and find out.

Mars Protein Nutritional Information Comparison table by Catalyst

It’s easy to see that the new protein range is NOT any healthier than their chocolatey counterpart – in fact, the only place where it does show any healthfulness is with the increased amount of protein.

And let’s not talk about the palm fat, glucose syrup, and palm oil which make this just as bad, if not worse, than a normal Mars or Snickers bar.  But has this put consumers off?

The answer is no. For your health lifestyle consumers  like myself this will be seen as a ‘cheat treat’ for those craving moments.

For your average consumer this has huge appeal as they get a treat and think they are getting health benefits due to the added protein.

Consumer ignorance suggests that if it’s got protein in it, its good for you!

Overall this move by Mars is clever and dangerous in the following ways.

  • Clever as they will create additional revenue in an expanding market

  • Clever as the retailer has the opportunity to get a higher pound margin from the higher price point
  • But dangerous as the product messaging can confuse the general consumer into thinking they are purchasing a healthy snack – as we’ve seen, they are not.

Mars saw an opportunity to exploit a new market and reacted in a timely fashion.

This wasn’t the case for Muller Yogurts. They missed a trick as the demand in their market shifted towards more natural products which saw brands like Onken take off and resulted in Muller’s sales declining by £16M.

  1. Product offering the market requires
  2. Price point that appeals to the retailer
  3. Clear messaging strategy
    1. Deliberate capitalisation on consumer ignorance may seem clever now, but will bite you later.

    2. Nobody likes feeling like they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes.

    3. Overall you need a clear 360 degree view and approach. If you want to find out more about entering into new markets or how to implement this approach contact me.

Thank me later.

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– This blog was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse –