Whenever a consumer purchases a product, they are fulfilling a particular need driven by both conscious and subconscious desires and motivational factors. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one of the foundational theories of motivational psychology but provides a simple yet accurate representation of how humans seek to meet their needs. The bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy is physiological needs (McLeod, 2020). By purchasing and consuming the proposed product, the consumer is fulfilling their physiological needs. First and foremost, the snack is food with nutritional value, and consumer may choose it in instances where they do not have the desire or ability to consume a large meal. Another physiological need it fulfills is comfort, by snacking and enjoying the snack, they are feeling comfortable, almost reaching into the next section which are safety needs, which the snack indirectly contributes to. Finally, the snack meets the need of health and wellbeing because of the contents and nutritional make-up. Customers want to eat healthy because diet affects a significant portion of well-being and weight management, by eating well, they are meeting their need to be healthy.
In their article on consumption values, Sheth, Newman and Gross (1991) argue that consumer behavior and choice are driven by at least one of the five consumption values which are functional, conditional, social, emotional, and epistemic. Several of these can be applied to the product. There is the functional value, once again referring to the health aspect, with consumers wanting a delicious low-calorie snack. As market trend analytics of the industry indicate that the discussion around health is growing, but the demand is not for just healthy snacks, but for functional and health-promoting snacks in particular. those that fulfill nutritional needs (Olayanju, 2019). Some other values have a lesser impact but can be applied. For example, the social aspect is relevant as healthy eating is a trend and consumers may want to fit in, be seen snacking on a product that is evidently a healthy and ecologically-friendly alternative to traditional chips. There may also be the value of curiosity as seaweed is not a popular ingredient, even among the health-foods, so consumers may be enticed to try it, given all the other benefits. In summary, each of these values are independent and contributing incrementally to the consumer making the choice and selecting the product from the shelf over that of a competitor.
The article by Levitt (2006) talks about an important point that successful modern marketing is not focused on the product that companies sell but rather should be aimed at consumer needs. In recent years with the popularity of social media, marketing has become a powerful tool that can create and drive a narrative around the product, even if it has a weak utility or low quality. Applying these concepts to “Chips Under the Sea” product and examining the values of consumers above, it is evident that the marketing plan should aim at the health and sustainability aspects of the product. It is ultimately how the consumers perceive it. The product and brand should be advertised as health-oriented, but not to the point where its exotic or ‘medical’ so that consumers will be reluctant to try. Instead, it should immediately draw association to healthy snacking for wellness while being surprisingly delicious. From a marketing perspective, it should be a product that millennials can open in front of friends, and they would be, “let me try that!” Much of that ‘cool but healthy’ factor stems from marketing. The most successful marketing campaigns for the health-foods industry are based in a universal message. These campaigns must take into account the influence of cognition, experience of the consumers, and the affect and emotional (Bublitz & Peracchio, 2015).
“Chips Under the Sea” can offer the sustainability message with its biodegradable packaging and containing only ethically sourced ingredients. These are the unique selling points for the brand. The health benefit is present but can almost be assumed. In combination, they fulfill the various values that may influence the consumer choice in a poignant manner. Consumers may want the product over competitors not because its healthier or has lesser calories, but because it draws an association to the marketing or simply based off the packaging, that this brand cares not only about the wellness aspect but sustainability as well. Seaweed is somewhat an exotic ingredient, providing an interesting experience for consumers, but it also retains the salty-like taste of chips and can be crunchy when dried, whilst other healthy alternatives replace it with bland ingredients or attempt to synthetically recreate the taste and texture that makes them less appealing.
Brand Prism model: “Chips Under the Sea”
- Physique – Biodegradable packaging, witty name, seaweeds on logo.
- Personality – caring, brave, advocating for a cause.
- Culture – environmental and human wellness, a coexisting relationship between how foods are sourced and then consumed.
- Relationship – sharing a healthy snack while doing your favorite activities.
- Reflection – advocates for healthy eating and sustainable prosumer food production.
- Self-image – consumers are helping the environment while taking care of themselves through an enjoyable food.
These are some of the basic components of the “Chips Under the Sea” brand intended to be accomplished through marketing. The key takeaways is that the brand wants to be a leader in healthy snacks while representing the symbol of sustainable food sourcing and consumption. As part of the general wellness trend, as well as more foods becoming plant-based since these have significantly lower carbon footprints, the company is an innovator as it adopts the message to the full with its biodegradable packaging and advocacy on behalf of these issues that many people care about.
In their article, Nandan (2005) suggest that brand identity originates straight from the company, how it identifies itself, its strategy, and most importantly how it communications this identity and value to consumers. The marketing mix is one of the most foundational elements of the marketing strategy and plays a key role in establishing a brand identity.
- Product – these are the seaweed chips. Immediately through the product, the brand can establish its identity. The use of biodegradable packaging suggests an eco-friendly company. Labels for non-GMO and other ingredients highlights the sustainable sourcing taken. It formulates the perception that the company is willing to take the extra step.
- Price – pricing will be slightly above average for chips in the market, but not exuberant and largely on par with other health-snacks in retail. The pricing indicates that the brand is available to everyone and not a luxury, as it spreads its values to the population.
- Place – the product can be bought digitally, but only shipped if a certain amount is bought, attempting to reduce carbon footprint as much as possible. It can also be bought in grocery stores in the healthy-foods sections.
- Promotion – social media advertising, potential endorsements, and signage/packaging in physical locations of sale. The product is aimed to be popular because of the message it brings. To do this, it needs a dedicated social media team and marketing campaign. However, it is vital to driving forward the overall marketing strategy and brand identity.
The prosumer concept is a recent trend across a variety of industries where products are customizable and adaptable to the specific needs or preferences of the consumer. In packaged foods, this is difficult to achieve given that everything is produced and packaged long before it arrives in the consumer’s hands. However, the concept can be applied to the marketing message and interconnection with the consumers. In the food industry, prosumers are actively advocating for sustainable consumption as well as production, having an influence on the way that food is grown, manufactured, packaged, and sold (Tsui, 2020). Although prosumers would prefer to produce their own food for self-consumption, when impractical, they choose to purchase products that are ethically sourced. The “Chips Under the Sea” brand can actively capitalize on this in its marketing messages given that it encompasses virtually all of these elements. It is sustainably sourced, packaged in biodegradable material, and promotes wellness. The firm should actively communicate this through advertisement and social media by emphasizing that it is listening to consumer trends, and making a product that goes a step beyond traditional health snack competitors. An open line of communication should be made public to derive feedback from consumers which can be used in later iterations or new products.
Bublitz, M.G. & Peracchio, L.A. (2015). Applying industry practices to promote healthy foods: An exploration of positive marketing outcomes. Journal of Business Research, 68(5), pp. 2484-2493.
Levitt, T. (2006). What business are you in? Classic advice from Theodore Levitt. Harvard Business Review, 84(10), 126-37.
McLeod, S. (2020). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Web.
Nandan, S. (2005). An exploration of the brand identity–brand image linkage: A communications perspective. Journal of Brand Management, 12(4), pp.264-278.
Olayanju, J.B. (2019). Perspectives on the future of snacking. Forbes. Web.
Sheth, J.N., Newman, B.I. & Gross, B.L. (1991). Why we buy what we buy: A theory of consumption values. Journal of Business Research, 22(2), pp.159-170.
Tsui, J. (2020). How prosumers are changing the good sustainability landscape. Green Journal. Web.