If you’re a health food brand seeking success in the market place today, you absolutely must use health food marketing as a means of helping American consumers become healthy in straightforward ways that they can both understand and trust.
While tons of scientific research has helped scientists uncover why our nation’s health is declining, there is one reason above all that can be blamed for our country’s growing sickness; our confusion about nutrition, emanating particularly from the way in which nutrition is talked about in the United States. Instead of talking about food in simple terms that relate to how people actually eat, we’ve spent too long talking about scientific things like calories, nutrients, fad diets, and meal schedules, and that’s a surefire way to confuse consumers and lose trust at the shelf.

As consumers become more conscious about their health and at the same time more skeptical about food marketing, it is apparent that brands must make a change. There are “health food” brands that simply aren’t healthy, and truly healthy food brands that have lost the respect they deserve. If you’re one of them, what can you do to gain back trust?

A good start would be to take a look at what the US is doing wrong. Then, take a look at what Brazil is doing right.

Earlier this year, a scientific panel formed by the US government released a report of new dietary guidelines for the United States. But instead of talking about real food, how and when to eat it, and with whom to enjoy it, the report dwelled on nutrients, calories and weight loss—precisely the kind of “nutritionism” about which the food writer Michael Pollan has written so negatively.
Brazil has recently done the exact opposite. Their new dietary guidelines focus on actual food and meals and encourage citizens to “simply cook whole foods at home.” Their report includes key topics that aim to decrease overeating and to appreciate eating as a natural part of social life, not the stressful and anxious battle it has become. These guidelines are smart and, most importantly, they’re true. Our current health food marketing trends are flawed and do nothing for consumers’ health—which is exactly why they’ve become skeptical.

So how can you gain consumers’ trust? Use your health food marketing efforts to educate consumers about these simple truths so that they truly become healthier. Instead of boasting misleading and empty claims like “half the fat!” or “now more nutrients!” use the space to provide guidelines like ones from Brazil’s food guide and help consumers reconstruct how they think about eating, instead of how they can lose 5 pounds or cut 100 calories out of their day. Educating consumers based on simple, whole truths about food and helping them understand how to have a healthy lifestyle in its entirety is what will help. And once they see your true desire to help, and true results in their health, they’ll trust you as a product and as a brand.