Human beings are creatures of habit. Especially when it comes to food. Ask most consumers about their main meal repertoire, and they will tell you about five to eight trusted meals that they have again and again. Ask how long they’ve been having one of their trusted favourites, and they will often talk about five, ten or twenty years. And what is true for main meal can also apply for breakfast, lunch and other eating occasions.
Getting your product adopted into the regular food repertoire can therefore be very challenging. You are up against long serving and trusted food buddies. Conversely, if you can get your product into the inner circle of habit, the upside is huge. Ten years at once a week is five hundred servings.
So how can you persuade consumers to change their habits and adopt something different? There’s plenty of tricks of the trade, but one in particular is worth thinking hard about. Delta Moments are times in consumers’ lives when they are much more likely to change their eating habits than normal. Not 10% or 20% more likely. More like 600%. So these are times when rather than fighting a losing battle, food brands have a more realistic chance of getting adopted.
So how can you go about profiting from Delta Moments?
First, you need to recognise when they occur for your Category. Obvious Delta Moments are leaving home to study, moving in as a couple, first child, family starting to eat together, kids leaving home, divorce, old age and widowhood. For a Category like Further Prepared Meat, it might be all about first child or kids leaving home. For one like Frozen Yorkshire Puddings, it might be more about families starting to eat together.
Second, you need to paint a vivid picture of how the moment feels and what consumers are looking for. Think about a first baby for example. There are huge opportunities in helping with the baby. But how will the adult food needs change? Food preparation and enjoyment time is about to disappear. Fatigue and emotional challenge are likely to arrive. Food habits will change significantly, and new solutions will be sought. And what about old age and the onset of immobility? Oakhouse Foods have focussed their attention on this audience, their tastes, smaller appetites and service needs, to deliver a focussed and differentiated offer.
Third, you need to find the audiences. Supermarkets run “Off to Uni” events. Organisations like Bounty target new Mums. Lists of house movers exist. Various Moments can be identified through purchasing behaviour on a one to one basis. Identifying the audience, knowing where to find them and how to talk to them, is key to success.
Finally, you need to invest for the long term. If the goal is long term adoption of your brand, and long term can mean ten years or more, you may need to think about different payback models. You don’t need a particularly high hit rate, if each person you convert is very high value in the long term. And whilst this kind of marketing might look expensive on an individual basis, it may in reality be more efficient than reaching lots of people, most of whom are not at a place in their lives when they need or want to change.
So identify your Delta Moments, understand them vividly, find the people and invest long term to convert them. Even better if they’re online and you get into the Favourites basket, or on the Amazon Dash button. Once you break into the habitual repertoire, there’s money to be made.