Kraft Heinz goes fully natural for new baby food brand

From Shopper Marketing Report: Heinz by Nature replaces the Heinz Baby brand, educating parents to stand out on shelf.

Heinz-by-nature-image

You are reading a story from Strategy’s Shopper Marketing Report, which covers the retail partnerships, in-store programs and consumer insights brands are utilizing to influence consumers at the shelf. To have the stories delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday, subscribe to the newsletter.

Kraft Heinz is looking meet demand for baby products that feel “homemade,” sustainable and natural, replacing the Heinz Baby brand with an extensive selection of purees under its new Heinz By Nature line.

And the CPG company is promoting them with a baby book and in-store messaging that aims to inform parents about its natural attributes and engage with them more meaningfully.

According to the company’s insights, 50% of meal occasions for parents with babies are cooking for their babies and starting to introduce them to solid foods. And when parents buy pureed food, they want it to have natural ingredients and nothing artificial, says Daniel Gotlib, associate director, brand building and innovation at Kraft Heinz.

According to Gotlib, while “organic” is still important to parents and is table stakes for the category – it still appears on the Heinz by Nature label – the company’s insights show consumers prefer the concept of something that’s “natural”: 65% of parents would prefer baby food made with natural ingredients, compared to 48 per cent who prefer organic. This is reinforced by messaging on pack: “Made from nature, close to homemade.”

The baby food landscape is highly competitive, with a mix of CPGs, private label and local smaller brands all battling for category supremacy. Gotlib says Heinz By Nature’s differentiator is not just its natural ingredients, but the sheer variety of SKUs: there are 40 flavours, with 21 in on-the-go pouches and 19 in recyclable glass jars.

Pouches have become the leading baby food format for consumers over the last few years, as they have preferred the on-the-go convenience. However, in contrast to glass, flexible plastic pouches are typically difficult for municipalities to recycle because of their multi-polyethylene structure and wet food content. In the U.S., Nestlé subsidiary and Heinz By Nature competitor Gerber introduced a mono-material pouch to streamline the recycling of plastic pouches and has partnered with Terracycle.

However, a focus on sustainability is another key differentiator for Heinz’ line, and Gotlib says the company sees a “significant role for glass in the future, especially as sustainability becomes more top-of-mind with consumers.”

According to the latest from Allied Market Research, pureed food is the second most popular baby food category after cereals, and the Canadian baby food market is projected to reach $2.4 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 7.60% from 2019 to 2026. The online store segment is projected to grow with the fastest CAGR during the forecast period, likely accelerated thanks to COVID.

In-store still plays a very key role, however, and Heinz By Nature’s launch includes executions of in-store displays and flyer placements. The packaging design and on-shelf messaging is crafted to inform parents on the product claims, ensuring they “can easily read and understand the natural elements of each SKU,” Gotlib says, a key factor in standing out.

Kraft Heinz Canada-Heinz Reinvents its Baby Food Line With Launc

Heinz By Nature is also launching “A Wonderful Meal from Nature,” an interactive baby book, designed to help babies establish a healthy relationship with food. The books are being distributed via Moms Meet, an online parenting community and a Heinz sampling partner, and will also be popping up nationwide through Little Free Library, a non-profit that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, as well as through a social giveaway by author and dietitian Abbey Sharp. This is an important way to extend the social campaign – according to Gotlib, new moms and parents rely heavily on word-of-mouth, social media and online discussions to make their purchase decisions and get advice from like-minded parents.

The full campaign spanning digital, social, PR and sampling partnerships, rolling out as a staggered launch over the next two weeks. The strategy and creative was led by The Colony Project, which worked with Friends & Enemies on production, and media was led by Starcom. SLD led the Packaging Design.