Sjoerd Post, market analyst, Innova Market Insights, says consumers are interested in how products are processed, and their level of familiarity with the technology can affect how easily they accept it.
“Brands are communicating more about how a product is made, what kind of processing technology is used, rather than just the ingredients being used in the product,” he said, speaking to BeverageDaily at Food Ingredients Europe in Paris last month.
“The challenge of course becomes for brands that use HPP technology to explain these benefits to consumers in order to create consumer interest and higher purchase intention. “
‘Bear hug’ technology
High Pressure Processing (HPP) uses pressure, not heat, to deactivate bacteria. It claims to retain the full taste and nutritional content of the drink. But communicating the significance of the technology to consumers is not always easy.
“There are two challenges. First you want to communicate as much as you can on the product – some brands have limited space to do this and will have a simple claim of HPP,” said Post.
“Other brands decide to put a few sentences on HPP, others use symbols to clearly explain what are the benefits and how this technology actually works.
“But a lot of the time, smart brands will have a very clear story, usually in video format or with some fun animations on the website for people who are interested in how this product is made.”
Brands using HPP try to explain the technology in as simple terms as possible, drawing parallels with understandable concepts such as ocean pressure to explain the concept. But some are also turning to humour to convey their message – take for example US brand Juice So Good, which says ‘We like to call it the Minnesota bear hug.’
So is humor the best way to explain technical concepts to consumers?
“I think it’s all about being true to your brand,” said Post. “If you have a light and funny brand, and your consumers are young millennials, then of course you should use humor to tell your story.
“[But] It really depends on your audience, the style, what kind of language you should use to explain HPP.”
If the brand doesn’t make the effort to explain HPP, it may find it hard to justify its price tag to consumers, continued Post.
“By not including the communication, a lot of consumers will miss the information about why it is beneficial and why they are paying a couple of pounds or euros extra for this drink relative to one that’s been pasteurized.”