Hacks and Nasties

March 20, 2017


The Changing Language of Fresh Produce Marketing

How many of you have had an encounter with either a hack or nasties? Sounds like something to be wary of when in actuality, these are both just new marketing terms involving foods.

Hack has emerged as a word describing a short cut in recent years. If you Google the word ‘fruit hacks’, you get over 1.5 million hits. Some of the more popular sites are, “21 Fruit Hacks to Make Your Life Easier” or “10 Best Fruit Cutting Hacks Because Life is Hard.” So a fruit hack is all about making eating fruit, cutting fruit and enjoying fruit easier.

I have to admit, there are some great tricks among them. Like how to peel a mango in less than ten seconds using the side of a drinking glass. Or how to easily peel a kiwifruit using a spoon. These are great tips that make enjoying fruit easier.

A few are scary. Some of the ones about determining fruit ripeness may be a bit damage inducing. Like the hack to pop the stem off of every avocado to check for ripeness. Or tips about squeezing in a certain way to determine ripeness.

Overall, they are fun, interesting and helpful. A range of produce companies are using them in their promotions and it gives them a hip and trendy feel. Check out Sunkist’s citrus hacks as one example. If you want to give your marketing a vibey edge, consider building in a hack or two.

So what’s the deal with nasties then?

One trend in food marketing is the desire for ‘clean’ food. Real ingredients you can read and understand, no chemical additive, no unpronounceable preservatives. Just pure, real, clean food.

As a result of the clean food trend, nasties has found new popularity. Today, clean foods are boasting they have ‘no hidden nasties’ where nasties has come to stand for bad or non-real ingredients.

I recently completed a consumer survey for a client where we were asking about label and ingredient preference. Approximately 30% of respondents, unprompted, used the words ‘no hidden nasties’ as something they would want to see on-pack.

The interesting twist is of course fresh produce naturally has no hidden nasties. So does that give us an advantage or disadvantage? It is more challenging to claim no hidden nasties, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be used. Phrases like naturally no added nasties can be used on POS and other collateral.

Words often give insight into trends. In looking at marketing or on-pack communications opportunities in the future, hacks and nasties just might need to become part of your vocabulary