Marketing Nutrition Needs a Strong Story at the Core

You have a passionate mission, super-clean ingredients and a diverse product portfolio. You need to wrangle all that into a cohesive, well-explained story or what’s the use?

I noticed something new — and in a way, old — yesterday at my Whole Foods. Core Bar from Core Foods. I’ve known this brand for years, but only for their Core Meal, which was for the longest time, the only brand sitting next to Perfect Bar. I wanted to know more about the story, so I grabbed a bar and started digging in.

What I found was a combination of cool, curious and confusing. All adding up to a “C” for Core.

First, what is the brand doing well, from a story perspective?

  • They have a great name — in a world with truly few great brand names; “Naked,” “Perfect,” “Dang” and maybe a few others rise to the top. “Core” is an awesome name.
  • The packaging is attractive — Core Meal employs groovy, homegrown-looking illustrations while Core Bar relies on a shiny foil to catch the eye. Not bad at all. Inviting and again, curiosity-causing.
  • Everything’s plant-based — they have a nifty line on the back of Core Bar: “All our ingredients were grown in a garden.” Puts a nice, understandable spin on “Plant-Based.”
  • They’re low sugar — The Core Bar I just ate only had 5g of sugar. That’s pretty amazing.
  • They have a mission — according to the site: “…give formerly incarcerated people a second chance.”

Now, how could all these good things work a whole lot harder?

  1. Pull the story together. Man, this brand is a mile wide and an inch deep in terms of story. Why not take that “…give formerly incarcerated people a second chance,” and expand it to giving us ALL a second chance — I mean they say they’re making the world’s healthiest food, back that stuff up. Put a stake in the ground about what makes good food and tie it back to the mission. Be cohesive.
  2. Find a consumer-advocacy-based foil. What the hell does it mean to eat the world’s healthiest food? Again, these guys could put a stake in the ground as to the benefit. Longer life, lower weight, less disease? Come on, everybody wants to eat healthy but without an enemy that’s repeated over and over, it’s hard and pointless.
  3. Use their low sugar attribute to make noise on a topic to which consumers are finally starting to come around — talk about how you need sugar to fuel your brain and muscles, but not that much. Talk about how our taste buds have gotten way out of whack due to all the sugar in processed foods and how Core wants to help people recalibrate for good.

Come on Core. You’ve got a great start, but after nearly a decade, you can do better!

Think this article’s off-the-top ideas are remotely good? Think what we could do in a whole day. Email me at if you’d like a copy of my marketing tools one-pager (that’s actually three pages.

And if you’re still not sure what to do, let’s chat.

Be digestible. And thanks.

Eric Kiker: Speaker

Author of The Digestible Brand: The Secret Sauce for Marketing Nutrition to the Confused Consumer

Agency Principal/LRXD

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