Enliven yogurt

Ingredients: The power of ‘proof of concept’

The road to market for health ingredients is typically a long one and, at times, frustrating. Suppliers first have to show their client’s NPD or R&D teams what their ingredient does and convince them it adds value to a finished product.

If they negotiate this hurdle, the marketing department has to be persuaded that a product containing the ingredient in question will fly off the shelves. And this is where it can become tricky.

Marketers, on the whole, don’t like to take too many risks with their company’s brand. They like to see strong evidence that a concept will work out in the real world before they’ll give the go-ahead to a new launch.

Giving them the chance to sample a range of generic test-products – the traditional way to showcase the benefits of an ingredient – is all well and good. But nothing is quite as compelling as a finished product that’s consumer-tested and successful.

This puts ingredients suppliers in a difficult position. How can they ever get a new ingredient concept off the ground if brand owners won’t even give it a chance?

There is another approach – the one taken by US ingredients company Ganeden Biotech, which supplies probiotics. Instead of persuading a brand owner to include its ingredient in a yoghurt brand, it cut out the middleman and worked directly with a retailer – in this case Walmart – to develop and market a finished consumer-ready product, which is now sold under the brand name enLiven.

This model has worked well for Ganeden. Getting its probiotics into Wal-Mart has bestowed a level of credibility that makes it easier to open doors elsewhere. And Ganeden now has a very positive story to tell.

The enLiven yoghurts were launched in March 2011 and, a year on, Walmart is expanding the range. This suggests it is performing well.

The launch of enLiven is a great example of an increasingly effective strategy employed by ingredients suppliers to conceive and develop finished products in order to build awareness and trust for their products by demonstrating ‘proof of concept’.

And when you can do that, marketing managers will be much less likely to turn you away.

Source: Ingredient Communications