Oscar Mayer overhauls hot dog recipe to embrace cleaner label trend
- Kraft Heinz reformulated the recipes for its Oscar Mayer hot dogs to clean up the products. The food manufacturer also redesigned their packaging to reflect these changes, according to Packaging Digest. The new label showcases the word ‘no’ three times, with smaller text explaining that it doesn't have added nitrates or nitrites, artificial preservatives or by-products
- Kraft Heinz kept the same color coding for their packaging – orange for cheese dogs, red for wieners, black for beef – but they made the colors more saturated, giving them a richer, warmer look.
- “We know that shoppers are looking at product attributes and ingredient lines now more than ever,” Jeremy Truxal, Kraft Heinz brand manager for the Oscar Mayer Brand Build, told Packaging Digest. “It’s important to us that our product packaging gives shoppers a very clear reassurance of the integrity of the new Oscar Mayer Hot Dog line.”
The Kraft Heinz reformulation of their Oscar Mayer hot dog line, and the subsequent packaging changes, are good examples of the market responding to what consumers want. More than ever, shoppers are turning over a package to read the ingredient list and nutrition panel before dropping that item into their shopping cart. Armed with a laundry list of ingredients they think they should avoid, consumers want to know a product is ‘safe’ for them to eat or drink.
This could be the reason behind the switch from positive language (contains 100% beef, kosher, for example) to negative language (no antibiotics, no artificial colors). While trends do show an increased interest in protein and plant-based foods, it appears consumers are focused on what isn’t in a product.
Manufacturers were quick to pick up on this trend and updated their packaging. Many companies had to make a sizable investment in R&D to take out the offending ingredients, but they’re now reaping the rewards. The items don’t even have to be considered healthy to use this negative language trend to their advantage. Lucky Charms cereal is now gluten free. Never mind that the second ingredient listed is marshmallows and the third is corn syrup. The ‘No Gluten’ claim may be enough for a shopper to give the sweet cereal a pass.
The dairy industry is another example of negative language proving more useful than positive wording. As concerns over antibiotic use in dairy cows increases, many milk and cheese products tout what their bovines weren’t treated with: antibiotics, growth hormones and animal bi-products. Even soda companies have embraced sugar as a healthier alternative. While it doesn't fall into the 'no' category, the beverage makers have attempted to get into ingredient branding, with Pepsi and others launching drinks that announce they are made with real sugar.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment consumers made the switch to responding better to negative advertising. It has grown in popularity as shoppers are trying to eat more healthy, and are increasingly curious about what happened to their food before it landed on a grocery store shelf. It goes against most rules of advertising, but negative language has translated into positive growth for many CPGs.
It's easy to see why. Last year, a survey of 1,300 consumers across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region done by Ingredient Communications found more than half (52%) were willing to pay 10% more on a food or drink product containing known, trusted ingredients. Recognition of ingredients was one of the biggest drivers of product choice, with more than half of respondents (52%) considering it an important factor.