For years now we have lived through trends that look at better nutrition, fresher and organic products, farm-grown supplies and home cooking.
Buying processed food in jars seemed therefore to be very last season. Blédina, the biggest baby food brand in France was gradually losing market share and was perceived by parents as a somewhat last resort convenient solution. The challenge they brought to us, was to identify ways to become once again the desired brand.
When Blédina called us, it became clear that the biggest problem that affected their growth was a new global trend. In order to embrace this new changing scenario in the food industry, Blédina as a business had to be able to identify whether their products were fit to compete with organic, farm-grown products and if they met with the requirements that parents looked for when buying baby food. This went beyond brand positioning and looked into the products themselves.
We invited parents to take part in study groups to find out what really mattered to them when purchasing baby food. We discovered that parents cared about two main aspects: they wanted variety so that their child would gradually discover new tastes and they cared about the provenance of the food, how the products are grown, what the recipes are composed of, and where the ingredients come from. To help think broader, we gathered an external team of farmers, nutritionists, doctors, kindergarten educators, and eco-farming activists who worked with us for 18 months. Their input allowed for two core truths: First, the brand had to be genuine. When speaking of food, marketing stories wouldn’t cut it. Second, Bléndina needed to look beyond themselves. As a big company, it has the influence and opportunity to help change the food industry.
These inputs and issues made it clear that Blédina needed an ambitious transformation as they lacked consistency and transparency in many aspects. This called for the organization to challenge not its marketing, but its full mode of operation, a single purpose that would drive the entire business. For Blédina, the new position would be “Cultivating Wholesome Eating”. This clearly described what we wanted to do with the parents and across France: working with farmers, enabling a transition to organics, improving recipes, supporting parents & kindergartens, helping not only to transform the environment but also root innovation and better business.
The idea was embraced and put at the core of the company’s ethos. Sessions were run across departments, engaging R&D, sourcing, sales, to explore how it could inspire change in their own spaces. Even HR practices were implemented to encourage better eating habits in the office. What initially was a “brand purpose” became a management tool, able to guide and unite all departments towards the same business vision.
The process is still underway, but the business is thriving. To the team the learnings are clear: in a food landscape that is fundamentally changing, the way to build growth is to embrace the movement towards the better food practices that consumers want. This is about refusing to make cosmetic fixes, but about putting the change at the core, so as to be fast enough and strong enough to lead and contribute, rather than being led.