University of Massachusetts Dartmouth marketing study advises cranberry industry to promote health benefits of cranberry juice in marketing campaign tailored to consumers' age group
Health conscious consumers know they are supposed to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, but a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth marketing study of consumers' knowledge of the health benefits of cranberries shows that these consumers do not typically put cranberry juice into their food pyramid.
Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Charlton College of Business Chancellor Professor of Marketing who led the study's research team, advised the cranberry industry to educate consumers on the health benefits of cranberries. Not only will this knowledge help the consumer buy a juice product that has potential health benefits for themselves and their families, but it will help the cranberry industry increase their share of the enormous market for juice drinks. Barnes had presented her findings previously at the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association (CCCGA) winter meeting on March 15, and on Monday, March 25, released them to the general public at a press conference at UMass Dartmouth.
This study couldn't have come at a better time for our industry, said CCCGA President Donna Jeffers, who worked with the team to shape the research focus. We are currently in the process of developing a nation wide plan to promote cranberries supported by research. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association and the Cranberry Institute recently joined forces as part of a national generic promotion campaign to promote the consumption of cranberries.
Cranberry Institute Executive Director Jere Downing, said: This research adds tremendous insight to our ongoing efforts to promote the health benefits of cranberries to the public. The research uncovered important information regarding consumer perceptions of the health aspects of cranberries. UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said Barnes' study exemplifies how the university applies its intellectual resources to the Commonwealth's problems and issues. This is one of the major strengths of a public university, and UMass Dartmouth faculty demonstrate over and over their strong commitment to advancing the economic, social and intellectual well-being of this community, she said.
Barnes, and her research team members, marketing students Jocelyn Kagan and Ryan Pinto, discovered that consumers' knowledge of the reported health benefits of cranberries crossed generation and gender boundaries. But one characteristic unified the three market segments they identified: Everyone wanted to lead a healthy lifestyle and expended effort--and money--to do so.
The UMass Dartmouth study found that consumers learn of the health benefits of cranberries mainly by word of mouth and reading magazines. The opportunities to communicate the health benefits of cranberries are enormous, Barnes said. Cranberry products appeal to the consumers. The market is larger than we think and health communications and promotion are now essential.
The research team advised the cranberry industry to devise marketing campaigns targeted to three groups that they identified as:
* The Young and Restless: Members of Generations X and Y who are concerned with being active, challenged, and fit. This group holds
great potential for the industry. Targeting consumers most likely to purchase cranberry products would appear to be a simplistic concept.
Unfortunately, these young generations are virtually untapped by the existing marketing campaigns for cranberry products. Generation X is
the single largest group of consumers for all beverages- both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
* The Forever Young: This health conscious, active sub group of Baby Boomers is substantial in size, yet not directly targeted by the industry. One interesting fact is that these consumers are parents, and close to 30% are grandparents. They buy health-related products for themselves and their families. This group appears to have
enormous financial potential as they move into the future. Securing them as consumers now, could result in a 25-year market opportunity
given their potential longevity.
* The Young at Heart: This group understands the UTI (urinary tract infection) prevention benefits and the anti-cancer/ ulcer benefits better than other consumers do. They were no more accurate however, in selecting the percent of juice needed to obtain the health benefits. We suggest that this segment be targeted in a more complete way. Males are equally likely to consume the product, yet less likely to be targeted by the industry.