According to a study commissioned by Australian health insurance firm Medibank, about a third of people are confused when it comes to nutritional advice. In their search for dietary guidance, it seems people are turning more and more to bloggers for clarification.  This is something healthy food marketing needs to pay attention to.

Browse the Internet for more healthy diet information, and you’ll be confused too. You’ll find pages on pages of medical journal entries, diet programs, health food blogs, and brand marketing communications. Amidst the roar of voices weighing in on the subject, it’s hard to break through and truly resonate.

That’s where bloggers have gotten it right. Consider dietary blogger Vani Hari, the anti-GMO activist behind the blog “The Food Babe.” Health-conscious readers flock to her website, where she warns of the toxic chemicals in food products, using her influence to move brands to action. In the past, Hari’s team at Food Babe has persuaded big beer makers to list beverages’ ingredients on cans and convinced Subway to stop using an ingredient in its bread that is also used in yoga mats.

In recognition of the weight Hari’s opinions carry with health-conscious consumers, Hari ranked fifth on Greatists’ 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Even after heavy criticism from the scientific community for allegedly using “pseudoscience” and abusing the word “toxin” to scare people into cleaning out their kitchens, people may still trust her more than they trust brands themselves.

In recent years, Americans have grown wary of Big Food, thanks largely to expository documentaries like 2014’s Fed Up and efforts like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. However, bloggers like Hari present a trustworthy face. Whether or not their claims are founded in sound science, bloggers’ honesty and transparency resonate with their readers and move them to action.  People healthy food marketing could learn from.

A survey conducted in 2011 by BlogHer and co-sponsored by Ketchum found that bloggers’ endorsements are even more influential than celebrities. According to the study,

  • 53% of female blog readers in the U.S. have made purchases based on a recommendation in a blog
  • 47% of U.S. blog readers use blogs to find new trends and ideas

What does all of this mean for food brands? Here are 3 key takeaways:

  1. Learn to Let Go by letting influencers speak on your brand’s behalf. Let them speak to their audience in their own voice because they know what resonates best with their followers and the message will be much more authentic.
  2. Foster the Relationship and stay in bloggers’ good graces by recognizing this is more than a transaction; it’s an ongoing conversation.
  3. Be Honest. It should go without saying, but always be truthful and transparent. Otherwise, your brand may end up in the hot seat with bloggers.

They may rock the boat for brands sometimes, but make no mistake—bloggers are not the enemy. This may make some brands uncomfortable, but the results of a mutually beneficial relationship and an authentic, straight-shooting campaign could have incredible results for all.  Healthy food marketing is about to make a new friend.