Once a niche market, Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) food and beverage consumers now make up more than 25% of US shoppers, and more than $290 billion in sales. The LOHAS market represents an incredible opportunity for specialty brands, as they tend to buy based on values, rather than price. But that kind of loyalty isn’t something brands can earn overnight – or with a series of slick ads.
Here are 4 critical things you need to know about LOHAS consumers to reach and market to them effectively.
- They are not a demographic
When most people picture the LOHAS consumer, they imagine a stock photo of a slender, young mother casually perusing the produce section of a natural market, perhaps with a cloth-diapered baby in her cart. While young mothers are certainly a segment of the LOHAS market, they are far from the only one. LOHAS food and beverage consumers cut across all demographics – from young to old, male to female, urban to suburban. While not defined by their age or gender, LOHAS consumers instead are defined by their values: concern for the planet, authenticity, personal fulfillment, holistic health, and social conscience.
When marketing to LOHAS consumers be careful not to segment them by their age – instead try to understand their core values and segment them by the things they care about: the environment, women’s rights, pesticides, and GMOs to name a few.
- They’re about more than organic
It would sure be convenient if all brands had to do was go organic to attract the LOHAS food and beverage market – but alas – it’s not so easy. LOHAS consumers are looking for more than organic (and sometimes, they’re not even looking for organic at all). LOHAS consumers care about values, not just ingredients. They buy from brands that are honest, authentic, and real. LOHAS consumers prefer brands that care about the planet, and others, and that put their money (and packaging and ingredients and employees, etc.) where their mouth is.
To reach LOHAS food and beverage consumers you have to do more than just market to them – you have to prove to them that you are one of them. Remember that actions speak louder than words. Use your marketing tools to show them (rather than tell them) how much you care.
- They eat dessert
It’s a common misconception that LOHAS consumers only buy health food. While it’s true that LOHAS consumers care greatly about health – it’s not “health” in the “calories from fat” sense that they care about. LOHAS food and beverage consumers care about GMOs and pesticides and sustainability and workers’ welfare – they also love chocolate and cheesecake and potato chips and all kinds of things that aren’t sold in the produce section.
Just because your company sells dessert – don’t count yourself out of the LOHAS market. If you sell dessert with a side of sustainability – they’re in.
- They won’t “take your word for it”
Likely the most critical piece of information about LOHAS food and beverage consumers that so many brands get wrong is the fact that they absolutely will not just “take your word for it.” Good advertising is not enough for LOHAS consumers. They see right through “natural” labels and lip service to the environment. LOHAS consumers as a group are vigilant researchers. They are the ones that read the interior pages of your website, all your YELP reviews, and the entirety of your corporate social responsibility policy. If they like what they see, they’ll stand by you and sing your praises – but if you cross them, if you don’t fulfill your promises, if you can’t back up your slogans with actions – they will destroy you. LOHAS consumers want real – from the ingredients in their food to the photos on your Instagram account.
If you want to win over the LOHAS food and beverage market – get real or go home.
Ethos is a multiplatform branding agency that develops and executes integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels for companies inside and outside of Maine.
At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set a company’s marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference for each client’s unique marketing and business objectives.
With Ethos, you get more than a Maine marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals.