You say healthy… they say “no thanks!” As a food service professional, you face the perception that any food that’s good for a person with high blood pressure (for example) can’t possibly taste good. You know this is not true but how do you get your customers on board?
Fortunately, there are effective ways to market condition specific dishes to your customers. Here, I offer tips for marketing these dishes to sell.
Consult the experts. Work with a registered dietitian (RD) to evaluate your current menu options and design new ones to meet the needs of your customers with specific health conditions.
Identify your target customer. Identify who you’re talking to. This is essential to crafting messages that appeal to those with restricted diets and/or chronic health conditions.
Lead with flavor. It may seem counterintuitive but leading with a message about health may not win new customers. Taste influences food choices more than anything else. So, focus on flavor. Design a dish that not only tastes good but also delivers a powerful potassium punch to help lower blood pressure and a healthy dose of soluble fiber to lower blood cholesterol levels. An RD can help you put together the right ingredients to achieve this.
Show, and then tell. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We eat with our eyes. This sounds like a cliché but it’s true. Invest in food styling and professional photography to create appealing food images. Showcase your dishes on a company blog or social media sites like Pinterest, Healthy Aperture and Facebook to bring customers in. Engage them with special offers and basic nutrition information to build community and help customers see you as a resource for better health.
Make it easy. Once a customer reaches your website, take them on a tour. Capture their interest with menu options tailored to their health needs. This may involve creative web design or an engaging quiz that reveals dishes suitable for a person with diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure for example.
These are just a few options to help you reach out to the millions of Americans living with food related chronic diseases. It will take some trial and error. Your goal is to alert your target customer to the options you provide to make their lives easier and possibly improve their health. Develop a great tasting product and get them in the door and more than half your work is done.
Marisa Moore, MBA.RD.LD. is a registered and licensed dietitian in Atlanta, GA. Marisa works with corporations, groups and individuals to improve health outcomes in wellness, weight management, heart health and disease prevention. She also works with the food industry to develop healthy recipes, products and campaigns.
She is a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and adjunct faculty at Georgia State University. Moore holds a BS in nutrition and dietetics from Georgia State University where she also earned a master’s degree in business administration.