business news in context, analysis with attitude

Marketing Daily reports that “simple” is becoming the catchword of the moment, both in terms of ingredients and marketing approach.

According to the story, “More than half (56%) of food/beverage product categories in the U.S. showed decreases in the average number of ingredients per product between 2008 and 2009, with an average ingredients decrease across categories of 2.4%, according to Mintel International CPG trend insight directors Lynn Dornblaser and David Jago, who detailed the simplicity trend during the recent IFT 2010 annual meeting and food expo.

“This is a response to consumers increasingly shifting their nutritional health/wellness focus toward ‘natural,’ ‘real’ and additive-free foods -- meaning those offering inherent goodness, freshness, wholesomeness and balanced nutrition, they pointed out. These days, a ‘simple’ message is often perceived more positively than didactic or vague ‘good for you/healthy’ messaging.”’
KC's View:
In a lot of ways, I have to wonder if simplicity always would have been preferred by the consuming public, while marketers have simply ignored this fact in their desire to stress complicated benefits and even occasionally obfuscate reality. In other words, marketers often find it is easier to dazzle folks with a complex tap dance than be transparent with simple realities.

The current trend may be a response to the fact that consumers have eroding confidence in a wide range of institutions...and so simplicity is engaged as a sales tool because marketers believe that it will create the reassurance of transparency and earn back some confidence.

Of course, if the pendulum seems to swing the other way, look for many marketers to jump off the simplicity horse as fast as they got on it. Because in the end, for a lot of people, this really has nothing to do with accuracy and transparency, and has everything to do with making the sale.