Dear Colleagues:

Consumers are more engaged than ever in finding ways to improve their health and wellness as we start 2015. Marketers have heard this loud and clear and have been creating new ways to promote the health benefits of their products and services, developing new or enhanced products to provide health benefits, and producing new brand marketing initiatives to attract consumers based on the brand'
s commitment to their well-being.

Enter 2015. Here are 15 examples of initiatives that are underway to attract those of us who are interested in healthier lifestyles.

A santé (to your health)!

In This Issue

#1 CVS - Stopped Selling Tobacco Products

#2 McDonald's -
Dispelling Rumors

#6 General Mills
Acquiring Annie's

#8 Wal-Mart -
Healthcare Begins Here

#12 Regional Grains

#14 Gluten-Free
Marches On

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1. CVS - Stopped Selling Tobacco Products
To reposition the brand as having a more comprehensive and sincere approach to customers' health and wellness, CVS pulled all tobacco products from its shelves by fall 2014 leaving nearly $2 billion per year in revenue on the table. As we enter the New Year, CVS airs commercials rebranding the company as CVS health, which invite us consumers to see the pharmacy/retailer as a place to go for comprehensive health and wellness needs. What's next?

2. McDonald's - Dispelling Rumors
With consumers increasingly more health conscious in their food choices, McDonald's is searching for a way to shed its unhealthy image. In addition to adding healthier options to their menus, such as apples slices in place of fries in Happy Meals, they have launched a marketing campaign to educate the public on how their food is made to dispel rumors about their food and highlight its quality.

3. Coca Cola - Fairlife Milk
A big departure from sugary beverages, Coca Cola is introducing a premium line of milk in 2015: Fairlife. Looking to make a splash and brand a healthy beverage in a commoditized category, Coca Cola is offering consumers a milk which has more protein and calcium than standard milk, half the sugar, and lactose-free.

4. Whole Foods - Values Matter Campaign
As the company fends off a multitude of competitors in the natural, organic and sustainability field, Whole Foods is launching the Values Matter brand campaign to remind shoppers that they lead the way in making healthy, high quality choices available to consumers.

5. Pizza Hut - Skinny Slice Pizza Line
While giving their company a much needed face lift, Pizza Hut has revamped their menu, including an attempt to appeal to more calorie conscious consumers by offering a lower calorie option.

6. General Mills - Acquiring Annie's
General Mills figured out a quick and credible way to enter the organic foods space without cannibalizing its current lines with less than healthy reputations. Consumers who want organics will be on the lookout for how GM manages the brand's authenticity. Perhaps those who have not yet embraced organics or found it readily accessible will benefit from possible line extensions, as well as greater availability of the Annie's line throughout larger grocery chains.

7. Soda Stream - Focusing on Carbonated Water
Responding to consumer backlash against sugary sodas, Soda Stream is repositioning its product line - beyond its reputation for sugary soda knock-offs - to feature carbonated water and healthy juice-based drinks at home. They hope that by reminding customers of this use for their products, the brand will be more appealing to healthy buyers in the New Year.

8. Wal-Mart - Healthcare Begins Here
After retooling its grocery aisles to encourage healthier eating for American families over the past couple of years, we can expect the retail giant to continue to promote healthier lifestyles through their merchandise, as well as through the WalMart Foundation. A recent campaign in Canada, Half Your Plate, encourages people to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables. In the US, the company appears to be entering the health insurance arena.

9. Dunkin Donuts - Almond Milk
Regardless of the trend towards healthier eating, the public has proven that they still want their coffee drinks and an occasional donut. Dunkin Donuts paid attention to consumer health and taste preferences and is now offering a dairy-free option with almond milk as well.

10. IKEA - Child & Pregnancy Insurance
Known as a popular brand for furnishing your family home, IKEA has begun expanding its product mix in Sweden with the aim to expand its family-friendly offering. Stay tuned to see if the line of insurance products extends to home insurance and if this and other line extensions expand into the U.S. or elsewhere.

11. Mazola - Corn Oil vs. Olive Oil
Mazola presents its brand's health benefits by promoting studies that claim that corn oil has more cholesterol lowering benefits than extra virgin olive oil.

12. Regional Grains - The Next Local Food Movement
Buying products made from regional, locally grown grains not only supports local farmers, but regional grains build healthy soils, prevent erosion, and are grown without GMOs. With shoppers becoming more and more interested in where their food comes from and how it effects their health and the environment, prepare to see more products touting the source of their grains.

13. Matcha Product Explosion
Healthy eaters are always looking for new ways to get their fiber and antioxidants. Enter matcha, which not only is a fabulous source of these benefits, but offers l-theanines (which naturally decreases anxiety and stress and improves mood and concentration) to boot. Expect to see matcha added as a premium quality and health ingredient in ice cream and smoothies, as Haagen Dazs and Jamba Juice are doing, respectively. This has potential to introduce matcha to non-tea sippers.

14. Non-GMO Foods
It's been estimated that non-GMO foods will make up 30% of food and beverage retail sales by 2017. This means non-GMO food is more than a trend, but a movement. Beech-Nut has dozens of products that are GMO free; all of Earth's Best and Plum Organics baby food lines are GMO free; Bonavita pasta; and the majority of Whole Foods' 365 label products are GMO free. Expect to see more and more snack-foods, spices, baby food, and pasta brands promoting non-GMO goods throughout the new year.

15. Gluten-Free Marches On
Gluten-free foods continue to be in demand so be prepared for even more gluten-free products to hit the shelves next year such as Gluten-Free Pillsbury Cookie Dough, Pastry Dough, and Thin Crust Pizza Dough.
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