One of America’s favorite dishes is evolving for the health-crazed world and healthy food marketing is overjoyed.
For a generation of millennial consumers interested in a healthy lifestyle, carbs and gluten have become the enemies. While once completely irresistible, pasta dinners are now not typically considered healthy choices. But the idea of giving up one of our all time favorite comfort foods was just too awful to contemplate. Enter a few very smart Pasta Brands who got healthy food marketing right.
Happily for young pasta fans, some opportunistic marketers were paying attention. And while grain and wheat brands like Ronzoni, Barilla, and De Cecco, are still the most used brands on the market, smaller pasta brands have been making a name for themselves by changing the game and creating healthy (and delicious) alternatives.
New brands like Banza, SkinnyPasta, and Cappello’s knew that consumers really didn’t want to give up pasta and the really didn’t want to give up health. With rallying cries like “love pasta again” and “pasta that loves you back” these brands are winning over millennials with products made from legumes and pulse ingredients like peas and lentils rather than gluten-heavy grain.
Banza created a great tasting (still super-important), low-carb, gluten free pasta product using chickpeas as their main ingredient, a pasta that International Food Trader reportedly is “transforming the grocery aisle.” Banza has quickly become one of the most popular and sought-after pasta brands, tasting and feeling like real pasta without the carbohydrate charged effects: their bright red, eye catching packages proclaims that their pasta is “powered by chickpeas.” Banza’s chickpea pasta reportedly contains double the typical amount of protein in pasta, enough to serve as a substitute for meat and chicken.
Cappello’s markets a “gourmet,” high-end product appealing to young millennial consumers. Their pastas and cookie and pizza dough are both grain and gluten free.The main ingredient is actually Almond Flour, a trend we expect to see more of. Capitalizing on the Paleo diet market and the CrossFit community, Cappello’s sales have doubled each year after its founding in 2011. The company’s marketing strategy includes both social media and paid advertising in CrossFit magazines, proof of what an incredibly focused, highly engaged audience can do for a brand.
Another strong brand coming out of Canada is Skinnypasta. They strongly emphasizes ingredients, both what’s in their products and what isn’t (another bring marketing trend) Skinny Pasta products contains no GMOs, additives, or preservatives, and are high in protein (SkinnyPasta HIGH PROTEIN was named product of the year in Canada in 2016). SkinnyPasta in particular has taken bold steps to market the healthiness of its products with the campaign “Skinny people eat skinny pasta”. They ran billboards in LA with pictures of fit models rather than tasty pasta. And their line “love pasta again” really taps into consumers desire to feel good about eating something they love so much. SkinnyPasta also has an active blog and has been featured on television shows and sponsored by young fitness influencers.
In the end, pasta is just too irresistible to keep off of the dinner table. But brands really need to pay attention to what consumers are asking for. These three relative new comers seem to really get it. Might be time for legacy brands like Barilla, DeCecco and Ronzoni to step up their healthy food marketing game.