Reconciling the Food We Want with the Nutrition We Need
At Mars Edge, we’re working to provide products that not only taste great, but provide simple solutions to health needs.
Most of us understand that nutrition and activity support better health. Yet many of us still struggle to reconcile the food we want with the nutrition we need.
Jean-Christophe Flatin, our President of Innovation, Science & Technology and Mars Edge, recently tackled this topic in his featured presentation at the Positive Nutrition Digital Summit: Healthy Innovation for the Mass Market. You can read more in-depth coverage about it on Food Navigator and in Jean-Christophe’s blog here.
“Food is what you think of when you get hungry. It’s strongly connected with our emotions and is closely linked to our social and cultural backgrounds. It’s driven by our senses, rituals and cravings. Nutrition, on the other hand, carries connotations of science and knowledge, often demonstrated through tables of macro and micro-nutrients,” he explained. “Our current ways of living have created a wide gap between the food we want and the nutrition we need. This is the heart of the problem we need to solve—a problem that clearly requires a unique combination of nutritional and behavioral science.”
To provide food we want and need, Jean-Christophe says innovative companies will offer not only products that taste great, but that also provide simple solutions to their health needs.
He points out that we’re living in an “attention economy,” where every moment of a consumer’s day is bombarded with messages competing for their attention. So, being relevant — and delivering that relevance through nutrition and behavioral science — is our strongest currency. And Jean-Christophe believes now is the time to act on the relevance of offering tasty, nutritious solutions.
“Today, we see nutrition moving from the fringes, from niche consumers to the mainstream. We’re seeing health awareness and self-care on the rise among consumers.,” he noted. “There’s also a rise in recognition of the role of nutrition as health maintenance.”
Additionally, consumers are more empowered to take charge of their own health, taking advantage of everything from personal sensors and devices to personalized nutrition offerings. For companies like ours, being relevant means moving from one-size-fits-all food to “what's right for me, my body, in my context.”
So how is Mars Edge doing this?
By taking a consumer-led and evidence-based approach, implementing data-enabled and digital solutions, all grounded in science and research.
“Data is at the center of what we do, driving differentiation, innovation, personalization and accuracy,” Jean-Christophe said. “A key focus is on digital solutions with direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses that allow us to stay close to consumers, listen and respond to their needs.”
DTC business models have gained significant ground during the pandemic, but will the trend continue? Jean-Christophe says yes, as long as companies continue to listen to consumers, develop ways to be omnipresent across the array of channels consumers prefer, and offer seamless navigation across those channels so consumers can find products everywhere.
He says Mars Edge is specifically focused on consumers who’re looking to keep healthy through sports, fitness, weight management, heart and brain health. And he shares examples of evidence-based, consumer-led products:
CocoaVia™ is Edge’s cocoa extract dietary supplement based on 20 years of research on cocoa flavanols to aid cognition and heart health. foodspring®is Edge’s direct-to-consumer business, offering evidence-based, data-driven products for consumers with needs around sports performance, healthy living and shape. foodspring® offers protein shakes, snacks and bars, muesli and porridge, and a range of beverages. foodspring® also offers a nutrition and fitness content platform with fitness videos, recipes, nutrition advice and a product recommendation engine.
“Again, relevancy is our strongest currency,” says Jean-Christophe. “And with this combination of nutritional and behavioral science, we believe Mars Edge is well-positioned to help reconcile the food consumers want with the nutrition they need.”