In a recent commercial for Chobani yogurt, a young farm family strolls through a green field, stalks of wheat blowing in the wind. Meanwhile, musician Eef Barzelay croons a folksy tune with the refrain “To love this life is to live it naturally.” What’s missing from this pastoral scene? Yogurt.

The food industry lags behind other sectors when it comes to digital investments, but sluggish sales and growing demand for healthy fare have pushed manufacturers to solidify their brand positioning, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. Rather than putting products front and center of digital campaigns, brands are launching digital content that associates the food with a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

Chobani (ranked 15th in the Index) faced backlash last year for its “How Matters” campaign. Consumers called out the manufacturer on social media for inflated claims like “Nature got us to 100 calories, not scientists.” In response to the criticism, Chobani is now steering away from making any claims about its product. The new “Love This Life” video campaign associates Chobani with a healthy, natural lifestyle.

Clif Bar (ranked 13th) has amped up its media production efforts to strengthen the association between the brand and a healthy lifestyle.. Articles and videos on the Clif Bar site cover nutrition, fitness, and organic farming, while the “Meet the Moment” section showcases user-submitted photos of outdoor experiences inspired by the “Adventure Challenges” printed on Clif Bar products. Veering deeper into content production, the brand produces podcast series Clifcast, which features interviews with nutritionists and athletes as part of its exercise and nutrition focus.

Clif Bar's lifestyle content

Nature Valley (ranked 37th) also uses creative content to cement its image 
as an outdoor brand. Visitors to the brand’s site can use the Trail View feature to virtually explore (on desktop or mobile) 400 miles of hiking trails at iconic national parks in the U.S. Enthusiastic “hikers” can share links to their favorite trails on Facebook and Twitter, helping Nature Valley solidify its image on social media.

Nature Valley Trail View

While these strategies make intuitive sense for manufacturers of healthy food, they are unlikely to have the same effect for Oreo or Snickers. Those other manufacturers, however, can take consolation in the fact that social media impacts food purchases less than in other sectors. According to L2 data, more than half of millennial consumers who share Hair & Beauty content make a purchase, but less than 10% of those who share Food content do the same.

For more, download a copy of L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. 
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