The New “Healthy” Paradigm

The Pepsi-owned fresh smoothie brand Naked Juice has launched a new line with Naked Half Naked, containing 50 percent less sugar than products in their core line. Fruit juice is notoriously high in sugar, and even with the promise of vitamins, calcium, and antioxidants, the high sugar can be a deterrent for consumers. The launch of a new, lower sugar juice is indicative that the sugar-conscious consumer is viable enough to warrant a new product. This indication reveals an updated consumer profile: the educated health-conscious consumer.

When Naked was bought by Pepsi in 2006 and nationally distributed, the Better For You trend was growing in popularity. Still in its early stages, this BFY era was marked by low-calorie versions of foods, artificial sugars, and gratuitous usage of the word “light”. In a sense, the name of the game was to take existing diets of consumers and shave off fat and calories. This is where Naked fit in. On the surface level, it is marketed as “good for you,” with pictures of fruit and an emphasis on vitamins and freshness to persuade the consumer that Naked is a healthy choice. At the time, the consumer didn’t mind the high sugar intake because it was fruit sugars.

Fast forward to 2019, when this version of “health” no longer suits the target market for Naked. Health consciousness has evolved (especially in younger markets) to provide a more holistic view of nutrition. No longer is it enough to simply cut calories or make a low-fat option. Options need to not just have the veneer of health – they need to actually offer nutrients, as well as have the correct number of calories, sugar, and antioxidants. Options no longer can just be vaguely healthy with the promise of low-calorie content, but must be nutritionally compatible with a wide array of diets: keto, paleo, whole 30, vegan, etc. The whole picture is in focus for health-conscious consumers.

For companies, this means that they will need to invest more effort into developing innovative, truly healthy products. It is no longer enough to have products that rely on a vague concept of health. If companies wish to reach young, educated consumers that have a lot of buying power, they will need to offer products that better fit the new wellness paradigm.

Pepsi made the right decision to push Naked in new, healthier directions. This is not to say each and every “healthy” branded product will need to be revamped; however, the target consumer must always be in mind. Baked potato chips with less fat will still be passable, but the quinoa chips will need to have the correct amount of salt and carbohydrates.

Naked Half Naked is not only a great strategic move for the brand, but also reflects just how much consumers know about nutrition nowadays.

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