With cellular marketing, John Q. Public, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, buys a carbonated soft drink made especially for him--the nonnutritive sweetener he likes, a small amount of caffeine, and in the container sizes he prefers. Even the carbonation level is optimized for John's tastes.
Since John also has arthritis, the larger-size package features an ergonomic handle designed just for him that makes pouring easier. In addition, although the brand name is prominent on the container, the color scheme was designed just for John's sense of aesthetics.
John's prepared, heat-and-eat meals also have been formulated to treat and complement his medical conditions as well as excite his taste buds. Tonight, he's having a Mexican-style vegetarian entree formulated with bran fiber, fenugreek seeds and ginseng.
Before you scoff at this futuristic scenario, take a look at what's happening around us today in food and beverage aisles. Cereals, breads and yogurts are being developed just for women (see "Feminine Fare" article on p. 19). Snacks, condiments and beverages are seeking to be "cool and hip" to attract the attention of kids, tweens and teens (see "Here Come the Millennials!" article on p. 30).
Food products, designed for a particular consumer segment, are being niched into ever-smaller subsets. For example, Uncle Ben's has expanded its rice bowls and noodle bowl concepts into Mini Bowls, designed for tweens and teens. Made to appeal to youngsters' tastes, varieties include Pepperoni Pizzeria, Crazy Cartwheels & Meatballs, Chicken & Veggie, Beef Taco Olé, Cheesy Mac & Cheese and Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!.
The products are both a meal and snack, and kids can make them on their own in a microwave in about five minutes. Specially marked packages of the product feature a mini CD, which includes a selection of hit music, interactive games, discount offers on clothes, music and accessories, plus an opportunity to enter a private sweepstakes party hosted by Carson Daly with music by S CLUB 7.
If the promotional scheme doesn't thrill you, that's fine with Uncle Ben's. Mini Bowls are not being marketed to you--the 30-something or 40-something professional. Its market is teens, and its marketing speaks to them in their language.
And if there's a mini, then there's probably a Mega Bowl just around the corner for those bigger appetites.
Big G's Wheaties cereal recently niched itself by coming out with an Energy Crunch variety. The package graphics include a silver-colored background with metallic lettering, plus images of fit and trim athletes mountain biking, roller blading, mountain climbing and kayaking. Energy Crunch touts its complex carbohydrates, protein clusters--six grams of protein per serving and 100% of the daily value of nine essential vitamins and minerals.
If this cereal--The Breakfast of Everyday Champions--succeeds, don't be surprised to see a Wheaties Energy Crunch bar follow on its heels.
Last year, Pacific Foods of Oregon launched a functional beverages line targeting bone health, heart health and fiber enhancement. Since medical self-treatment is becoming more popular with consumers, products such as these offer a tremendous growth opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers.