With a stigmatized product such as white bread, marketers must promote not only the presence of positives but also the absence of perceived negatives commonly associated with the product.

Prioritizing claims

Knowing which claims to promote on the package is also half the battle. Marketers only have so much space to work with and only so much time to grab shoppers’ attention. It’s important to be judicious in which claims get top billing with the brand’s logo.

“The way you prioritize is by what the brand is about,” Mr. Letchinger said. “We make organic non-GMO whole grain breads, and that’s where we start with what we’re going to call out on our front of package.”

With White Bread Done Right, Dave’s Killer Bread wanted to answer consumer questions about the stigma of white bread while at the same time extolling the nutritional benefits this loaf carried. The company did this by first promoting the 10 g whole grains and then backing that up with statements of no HFCS or bleached flour.
Similar to Dave’s Killer Bread’s commitment to GMO-free and organic, Hain Celestial starts with the GMO-free claim. “That’s a Hain Celestial guiding post,” Mr. Hartmann explained. “As a company, it’s one of our founding principles, so as we innovate and grow, we continue to maintain that as a foundation.”

Phoenix-based Inventure Foods focuses its attention on another popular claim, gluten-free. “Gluten-free has become important to consumers,” said Steve Sklar, senior vice-president and general manager, snack division, Inventure Foods. “We believe if your product is gluten-free, you should let people know.” The company prioritizes making as many of its products as possible gluten-free and has even reengineered existing products to make them gluten-free when possible. With products like potato chips that are naturally gluten-free, this can be as simple as tweaking the seasoning.

Beyond claims that reinforce a company or brand’s values, marketers often look to the product itself, consumer demands and the competition to guide them in what else should be promoted on the front of a package.

“At the end of the day, it boils down to the consumer trends, what consumers want,” Mr. Sklar said. “You can get into so many claims that you can’t distinguish what’s important.” For its Organic Veggie Stick, Mr. Sklar said the company focused on the facts that the product is organic, baked and contains 10 vegetables. Those as primary, secondary and tertiary claims convey a message of clean label and nutrition without cluttering the packaging. The fact that these veggie sticks are organic also differentiates them from their competition.

Promoting nutrition on the front of packaging can be as simple as relying on icons developed by various associations such as GMA.

For Hain Celestials’ Garden of Eatin’ tortilla chips, corn is an ingredient at high risk for GMO contamination. To reassure consumers, the packaging of these products prominently feature the Non-GMO Project Verified stamp. In contrast, the company’s Terra brand made with heirloom vegetables calls out the company’s relationship with the Seed Savers Exchange, an organization concerned with crop and seed conservation and an issue important to Terra’s target consumer. While GMO-free may still be important to those purchasing Terra products, the added value of pairing with a conservation organization speaks to them.

It can also be beneficial to choose claims based on the existing market a new product may be entering. If a new brand is the only organic one in that category, it’s important to call that out on the package. “It differentiates our product from our competitors’, ” Mr. Sklar explained. “If our competitors aren’t organic, and we can be, then that would be the biggest point of difference, and we can draw consumers to that differentiation.”