Food That Talks

This research is the result of the collaboration between Healthy Marketing Team and a group of students from Lund University’s Master program in Applied Cultural Analysis.

Everybody has a food they remember from childhood. It’s that kind of food that, regardless of your age, you’ll still think of fondly and eat whenever nostalgia strikes, or you want some comfort food. Just ask your neighbour or friends what food they remember the most, and you’ll be surprised by the variety of choices. (If you ask Peter, he’ll really make you want to try hönökaka, with butter, Kalle’s caviar, and an O’boy by how happy he looks describing it!) Yet, we all have that one thing that we still love even as our diet and needs change. This is because these foods are not just foods for us: they’re memories and emotions. These foods take us to a time and a place that’s dear to our hearts, but even if these comfort foods are very important to us, they’re not the only types of food that influence how we feel.

When we talk about food, we seldom talk just about nutrition, health, or ethics. This much was clear to us when we dove into our research. Whether it was one-on-one interviews, focus groups, or even listening to food-related podcasts, we kept running into the affective relations people have with the foods they eat or stay away from. As such, while at the start of our research we asked ourselves what happens to brands and their values as they grow, we were stomped by our initial results. By looking at industry practices and consumer expectations, we found that it’s almost impossible for companies to keep to their initial models of  production and consumer interaction without compromising brand loyalty and trust. However, we also found that we all rely on affective relationships to choose the kinds of foods and brands we support. We all have reasons for choosing a specific brand – whether it is due to our preferred style of eating or because we have ethical concerns.

But you might be wondering, what affective relationships are, and how are they useful to my brand? Affective relationships are the relations we create based on our emotional biases. However, to better understand what we mean by affective relationships, we mapped what we found to be the three major trajectories of affective relations between brands and consumers: spatial, temporal rhythm, and ethical relations. These three categories are a handy tool for developing a strong brand and a lifelong bond with your customers regardless of the shifts of the market.

Further, they are not static which means that you can adapt your brand strategy to better identify with different demographics. As the cherry on top of our research cake, these trajectories are shaped by HMT’s Global Game Changers. This means that they’ll help you understand the choices and tensions that characterise consumer’s choices while adapting to your already existing toolbox.

In a world where every brand is trying to establish themselves by being a trendsetter, and not a fad, Food that Talks will help you figure out the best trajectory to your brand’s success.

Want to know more about brand trust? Find out how we could help you maintain strong consumer connection through ‘food that talks’, please contact Wendela.
The research project is also featured at NutraIngredients, read the article here.