LOHAS, or lifestyles of health and sustainability, is a term used to identify a growing segment of consumers that care about the health, wellness, and sustainability of the brands and products they use.
To appeal to the LOHAS market, it is important that a product be both healthy and sustainable, but it's just as important that these attributes are clearly communicated to the consumer.
The level of transparency in your branding will make or break your relationship with the LOHAS consumer.
Verifiable certifications and badges on your packaging can go a long way: Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey reported that 52% of consumers check packaging to ensure sustainability and up to 75% of consumers are reading the labels on their food more frequently.
For CPG goods, the first impression a consumer makes about a company or brand is often based on the product’s packaging. Clear labeling assures them that the brand they are choosing meets the standards they expect — it makes sure the first impression is a good one.
NuGo, a client of ours here at Digital Surgeons, uses non-deceptive packaging on their nutrition bars to build consumer confidence. When a bar is described as REAL chocolate, it means just that. NuGo is also the only nutrition bar company to use real chocolate as opposed to chocolate mixed with palm oil. NuGo’s product line includes non-GMO and organic offerings that are labeled accordingly so that consumers can make informed choices about the bar that best suits their dietary choices.
Transparency isn’t only in the Packaging
Chipotle Mexican Grill recently launched a campaign to advise their customers that they are “G-M-Over It” and no longer using ingredients with genetically modified organisms.
The Chipotle GMO page educates customers by listing facts about GMOs and the ingredients that typically contain them, including those previously used in Chipotle’s food.
Chipotle is seeking to build a transparent relationship with the consumer in which they are open about the GMOs they have used, and the reasons why they now believe it is in the best interest of their patrons to stop using them.
93% of U.S. corn is genetically modified, along with 94% of U.S. soy. The decision to apply GMO-free to its nearly 2,000 locations reflects the lengths Chipotle is willing to go to to promote the health and sustainability of its food offerings.
The Mexican grill is currently the only national restaurant that has disclosed the GMOs in its ingredients but shifting consumer uneasiness with genetically modified ingredients will force other restaurateurs to follow in the footsteps of Chipotle, known for its trademark, “Food with Integrity.”
Even If You’re Not In Whole Foods, Be Sustainable
69% of consumers believe that sustainable packaging is an important factor when making food purchasing decisions.
Even if companies don’t produce organic products, they can still appeal to the LOHAS consumer with sustainable packaging.
Just this year, Coca-Cola revealed a new bottle that looks and feels the same as the traditional plastic bottle, but is made of 100% sugarcane plant-based materials. The soft drink maker plans to exclusively use the sustainable “PlantBottle” by 2020.
"The Coca-Cola company is determined to lead the consumer packaged goods industry away from its dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels and toward using renewable plant-based alternatives," said Coca-Cola in a statement, "It hasn't been an easy task, but it shows our commitment to doing the right thing in the right way."
Colgate has also committed to recyclable packaging in three of its four product categories by 2020. It has also pledged to reduce or eliminate use of PVC in its packaging.
You may remember Pepsi’s Sunchips biodegradable bag design all the way back in 2006. It was the snack bag that was deemed “too loud.” Instead of ditching their attempt at sustainability, Pepsi produced a quieter, much more well received biodegradable bag by 2011. Pepsi went out on a limb as one of the first large food brands to use a biodegradable bag and ultimately gained goodwill by sticking with the compostable design, even after the initial consumer backlash.
Even Apple used renewable tapioca paper foam in some of their fifth generation iPod touch and seventh generation iPod nano earbud cases. When placed in water, the cases would dissolve into a pulpy substance. Proving even brands outside the food and beverage industry can use more environmentally friendly packaging.
Big Retailer Target has beat their 2016 goal to make at least 50 brand-owned packaging designs sustainable and plans to only continue to reduce the environmental impact of their products.
Walk the Walk
LOHAS consumers don’t just want products they can trust, they want to trust the actions of the larger brand and organization, too. It’s important that the suppliers and processes used to create the product are sustainable and responsible and that all communications with consumers are transparent. .
Patagonia, a LOHAS outdoor apparel company, releases detailed information about its supply chain in the Footprint Chronicles.
“The Footprint Chronicles® examines Patagonia’s life and habits as a company. The goal is to use transparency about our supply chain to help us reduce our adverse social and environmental impacts – and on an industrial scale. We’ve been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit.” - Patagonia
Stonyfield, an organic food company, also releases their supply chain information on an interactive world map called the Source Map. The Source Map lets consumers learn about the suppliers Stonyfield works with, it lets them meet the small-town farmers, like the Silveiras pictured below, who help supply the brand’s organic milk.
It may cost more for Stonyfield to rely on smaller, family-owned farms but the goodwill gained will build all-too-valuable brand equity.
Earn their Trust
Transparency is the currency necessary to gain the trust of the LOHAS consumer. Build lasting brand equity by showing them just how your products and processes positively affect their health and the environment around them.
A mix of crossfit junkies, gluten-free enthusiasts, and health nuts, Digital Surgeons is unequivocally LOHAS. Contact us for ideas on how to promote your brand to health and sustainability consumers.