It’s a fast-moving world for fast-moving consumer goods, aka FMCG. If you work in the sector you probably know that FMCG is a hugely diverse and innovative industry, selling everything from milk and gum to candles and the hottest skincare serum. Essentially, if it’s sold quickly at a relatively low cost, you’ve got yourself an FMCG.
The largest FMCG companies in the world include behemoths such as Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca Cola and L’Oréal, with the top 40 alone estimated to have generated over $1 trillion in revenue in 2020 alone.
But the category is quickly diversifying, as disruptive products such as meal replacement drinks and CBD-infused sparkling water aim to shake up the wellness niche. We were curious, which wellness brands are saturating the market and where do the opportunities lie? Let’s take a moment to refresh ourselves with the key stats around the sector:
Wellness as a category has become increasingly accepted by consumers over recent years, with products such as vitamin fizzers, protein bars and pre-workout drinks and gels becoming more popular on the supermarket shelf. Similarly, due to the COVID-19 mental health crisis, more consumers are interested in mindfulness and anxiety-related products.
In this blog, we’ll be examining the opportunities for savvy wellness brands looking to make their mark in the FMCG sector. P.S. If you’re interested in innovative FMCG brand campaigns and opportunities for CBD-infused products, we highly recommend bookmarking these pieces for later.
To answer this question, we ran interconnectivity reports based on two leading wellness brands and similar audiences that surround them: Medterra, a CBD brand, and Huel, a nutritionally complete food (note: not a meal replacement). Both brands have a presence in the UK and the US.
We wanted to understand who the existing audiences of these brands were and any potential opportunities to reach more people like them. These reports looked at two types of audiences within the FMCG sphere. The Mediterra report is based on people mentioning either Medterra or Charlotte’s Web in the last 6 months, whilst the Huel report is based on people mentioning any of Huel, Soylent, Vitabiotics, Optimum nutrition, or Berocca in the last 6 months. In terms of audience sizes, the Medterra audience pulled around 11k people, while Huel pulled a massive 120k. Bear in mind that the difference in size between these audiences can simply come down to the smaller audience being based on two CBD brands that are arguably still in early adoption phases compared to five brands in the nutrition industry.
For both brands, their audience tends to skew toward the younger demographic of 18 to 24 years old. Interestingly, while these audiences are largely based in the US (64% for Medterra and 45% for Huel), London was the top city for both audiences. Their top interests also differed slightly with the Medterra audience most interested in pets and Huel most interested in movies and TV.
If you’ve read our previous sector spotlight pieces, we don’t need to remind you that your audience is not a monolith. Audience intelligence is our bread and butter, so let’s break down this health and wellness audience into bite-size chunks. We’re going to focus on the main segments that appeared, however, our reports can produce up to 20 segments.
Digital native gamers 🎮
Socially conscious pet owners 🐱
Young teaching professionals 🍎
Entertainment aficionados 🎬
Right-leaning Americans 🐘
Up-to-date pet owners 🗞
We’ve done our homework into Medterra’s and Huel’s potential audiences, now let’s get to the juicy details. How are brands shaking up the FMCG space?
Medterra goes hard on trust as a core element of their brand, which is interesting, given the dwindling consumer trust in brands and Gen Z’s resistance to traditional forms of advertising. This extends to their marketing strategy as well.
In 2021, they launched their first digital campaign called “the CBDo’s and CBDon’ts of CBD”, which focused on busting the myths around CBD and establishing Medterra as the go-to brand for purchasing high-quality, reliable CBD products.
They play on the typical misconceptions around a relatively niche product (i.e., ‘I knew you were on drugs!) to create a playful and informal tone, while also educating their audiences. They also cater firmly to that younger audience, posting visual content across Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, plus jumping on memes whenever it feels right. Notably for Medterra, based on the socially conscious pet owner audience we discussed earlier, they are very pro-pet in their social content.
While their organic strategy is clearly still in development, Medterra are tapping into that spur of the moment audience with a comprehensive digital advertising strategy. According to Pathmatics, Medterra invested almost $708K toward its digital advertising in 2021.
The brand’s top invested digital advertising channels are Facebook at $396K (56%) and Desktop Display at $212K (30%). Their most successful Facebook campaigns continued to focus on building trust, offering free samples and educating their intended audience on the benefits of CBD for health, wellness, and yes, even your pets. It’s fascinating to see that Facebook is such a core part of their advertising strategy, particularly as teachers are heavy users of Facebook!
While still early days for Medterra’s digital strategy, there’s definitely room for growth in how they engage and grow their communities. This case study from Convosphere is a great example of how to use audience insights to identify and engage micro-influencers in the space.
Born in 2015 out of a desire to make nutrition more accessible for everybody, no matter how frantic your lifestyle, Huel has become a firm favourite of gym bros, tech bros, and basically anybody who would like to stop obsessing over what to have for lunch. To date, Huel has sold over 100 million meals and according to Buffer, successfully built a community of around 400,000 followers across their digital channels.
Every day since June 2015 people have commented on our adverts that they don't want Huel because they "like chewing."— Huel (@huel) April 1, 2022
We have taken this feedback seriously.
Presenting, Huel Gum ™
🙅 0g sugar
🤏 0.5% of your daily recommended amounts
😬 extra chewy#Chewligan pic.twitter.com/8gU6YZ8rUc
Along the way, Huel have struggled with positioning. Criticised as just another meal replacement shake or denounced as pointless by people who like to chew, this somewhat niche product has fought hard to make its way in the UK and US markets. When faced with a tricky product and a resistant consumer-base, it makes sense that Huel focused on a digital-first marketing strategy.
Audience intelligence and the superior targeting abilities of digital channels, versus more traditional marketing opportunities, has helped Huel create their very own ‘Hueligans’ - passionate brand champions who await each new product with bated breath. They focused on transparency and education, making the science behind the product one of their strongest USPs for doubtful consumers.
*finally* you US Hueligans can get your hands on our Cajun Pasta as well as our Chick'n & Mushroom Pasta - we promise it was worth the wait!— Huel (@huel) March 29, 2022
They are hearty, mouth-watering instant pastas and you're gonna love them 👇 https://t.co/jNpbI6saZ2#Huel pic.twitter.com/JSupcdSofP
Of course, Huel’s greatest USP is nutritionally balanced convenience, which explains why gamers, vloggers, and streamers all appear in their audience segments. Their mission is to make nutrition easy for the time poor and the hustlers, with CEO James McMaster quoted as saying, “Huel is about tackling your most inconvenient meal of the day” — for most this is breakfast or lunch, leaving room to “enjoy a more ‘traditional’ meal with family and friends in the evening or at the weekend.’ Essentially, Huel isn’t trying to replace food and bore you to tears with the next Slimfast diet, they’re trying to make life simpler. This message shines through in their approach to social.
When you’re trying to appeal to a massive audience of people, it helps to have a product and audience strategy that aims to be inclusive. Now widely available in supermarkets (at least in the UK), Huel appeals to a range of subcultures, from tech-industry influencers trying to embrace Steve Jobs’ one less decision philosophy to vegans and vegetarians just trying to get a decent meal on the go. This has made their product a social media goldmine, as well as the free swag they send to each and every customer.
So, what are our key learnings from Medterra and Huel? Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t matter how ‘niche’ you think you are, there’s almost definitely an audience of customers out there that can be reached through a variety of marketing tactics. Here are four other key takeaways to bear in mind.
If you want to uncover opportunities to work with influencers and reach new audiences, the data is out there. It’s just a matter of taking a deep dive. With tools like Audiense, conducting in-depth audience analysis and discovering actionable takeaways is possible for brands that want to approach their marketing strategy with confidence.