Food marketing can be defined as marketing that advertises and promotes a specific food or food product under a brand name. Food marketing plays a major role in the public’s perception of a certain product. There are quite a few variables that can help boost the sales of a food product through effective marketing. These include the pricing of the product, the promotional campaign, and the packaging, to name a few.
Different companies employ the use of different strategies to market their product to the public. This also depends on the type of product they are looking to sell and the target demographic for that product.
Market Segmentation in the Fast Food Industry
Market segmentation is a process employed by marketers to identify the needs of the customer, hence identifying a target audience and accordingly constructing a marketing mix to best market the product.
In the food industry, these are a few of the possible market segments that can be classified.
“I like it”
This connotes a food product that the consumer gravitates towards purely for the taste of it.
“Pressed for time”
This segment of the market, as the name suggests, does not have a lot of time to waste and therefore needs something high in nutrition that they can consume on the go.
“Nice and Easy”
This refers to a segment that enjoys fast food for its convenience and ease of access. They may choose fast food over having to cook at home
The family treat market segment views fast food as a special treat for the family on special occasions or celebrations.
The Marketing Mix: The 4 P’s
The marketing mix is the umbrella name given to the different aspects of marketing a product or a service. It consists of the 4 P’s; product, pricing, place, and promotion. Let’s look at what these entail and how they are used to the marketer’s advantage.
The first thing to consider in the marketing mix is the product your company is going to sell. Your market segmentation can heavily influence the product you choose to sell. Is the product geared towards a demographic that favors low-cost or high quality? Is the product to be sold to kids, adults, or the elderly? These questions help narrow down what product to sell to the target audience. An example of products being sold to specific demographics would be the contrast between a low-income neighborhood and a high-income one. Las Vegas is known for the strip being frequented by high rollers and celebrities, which is why it is full of celebrity chef restaurants and novelty dishes with rare ingredients. On the other hand, low-income neighborhoods often have a McDonald’s or other fast-food chain located nearby that utilizes the fast-food formula to give a consistent flow of service.
The price point you set for your product is dependent on who the targeted potential customers are. There are restaurants around the world that are well-known specifically for the absurdly high price of their spin on a classic dish. Gold-leaf-covered pizzas and wagyu beef (the rarest class of beef) are some examples of expensive food products. In contrast, fast-food chains often operate in low-income areas to offer low-cost alternatives to home-cooked meals at the cost of their health.
Understanding where to market your product is vital when it comes to receiving a good customer response. In the ever-evolving age of technology today, companies can simply monitor the preferences of a certain group of people within similar locations and market the appropriate product to them accordingly.
Fast-food chains, food companies, and the beverage industry all use promotional tactics in a very smart way to influence the public to buy their product. Promotions appear in the form of billboard ads, radio ads, TV adverts, website ads, to name a few. Additionally, companies have increasingly adopted the strategy of using influencers to promote their products. This involves the company sending the influencers its product and reviewing it or engaging in a collaborative project with the influencers. This opens up the whole fan base of the influencer as potential customers.
The link between food marketing and health issues
Several studies over the years have pointed out the negative side of effective food marketing that leads to health issues, mainly in children. The food industry is saturated with companies seeking to sell unhealthy food products to children under the guise of their products being the “next best thing” when children are being fussy and do not agree to eating healthy. In reality, however, these food companies act as proponents to promoting obesity and early onset diabetes in young children.
So, while food marketing is great at targeting a certain demographic and pushing their products on them, there are obvious repercussions that come with that ability.