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Baby Food Category Review

happy mother feeds funny baby from a spoon

Dunnhumby sales statistics reveal that 16 percent of all baby food products are sold online. Brand View reviewed the Discoverability, Representation and Engagement of baby food brands in six major UK retailers, to identify who was performing well and who was struggling online.

Baby Food

Increasing popularity and availability of organic baby food has been a growth driver in the category, with 56 percent of all baby food now sold being organic (Soil Association).

Hipp Organic and Ella’s Kitchen became the leading brands in wet and dry baby food (IRI) and Organix gained a 58 percent share of the Baby Finger Food sub-category (ERC).

Discoverability

In October 2015, organic baby food products achieved a 58.1 percent share of the first page of results for the search term “baby food”.

The Discoverability of organic products decreased at a category shelf level – it achieved an average 40.7 percent share of the first page of the category shelf.

baby food first page results

Organic brands, Ella’s Kitchen and Organix, were the most easily discoverable online. Organix had an average 19.1 percent share of the first page of the category shelves in the retailers reviewed.

Organix achieved a greater percentage share of the category shelves compared to Ella’s Kitchen. It had nine products on the first page of the Tesco website and three on the Asda website, whereas Ella’s Kitchen had one and zero products respectively.

Ella’s Kitchen attained the greatest average share of the first page of results for the search term “baby food” with 21.4 percent – just 0.3 percent ahead of Organix. Ella’s Kitchen had a 79.1 percent share of the first page on the Waitrose site for this term. Organix achieved its greatest share of the first page of results on the Ocado website with 50 percent.

baby food brands search results
Data from 1 October 2015

 

Although Hipp Organic performed poorly on the category shelf, it had the greatest average share of the first page for the search term “organic baby food” with 40.3 percent. All of the first page of results on the Waitrose site were Hipp Organic products.

There is an opportunity for all organic brands to improve Discoverability on the Tesco website. Just seven organic baby food products returned for the search term “organic baby food” – six Ella’s Kitchen products and one Heinz organic product. Brands such as Hipp Organic and Organix can work with the retailer to increase the visibility of their products.

Engagement

The Baby Food category had less reviews than typically seen for an FMCG category – this is probably due to the fact that the actual consumer normally submits a review for food products.

None of the brands analysed had reviews in all five possible retailers (Tesco do not list product reviews and ratings). Hipp Organic had reviews in four of the five retailers, whereas Cow & Gate, Ella’s Kitchen, Heinz and Organix received reviews in just three.

Heinz had the worst average review percentage at 67.1 percent. Its listings of Heinz Mashed Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta Shapes 130g and Heinz Sweet & Sour Chicken Tray Meal 230g in Ocado both scored 1 stars. Reviewers, presumably parents, complained that the products tasted unpleasant. A reviewer on the Asda website expressed the same opinion about the Heinz Peach Fruity Yogurt 4 x 100g.

Brand Name Representation

Ella’s Kitchen had the greatest number of problems with brand name compliance – 15 of its listings in Tesco, three in Waitrose and one in Ocado were missing the term “Kitchen” from the brand name. In addition to this, seven listings on the Tesco website and two on the Morrisons website omitted the apostrophe from the brand name.

However, Asda was the worst offender with three of its Ella’s Kitchen listings featuring three question marks in place of the apostrophe. This is a problem Brand View has witnessed in Asda across multiple categories and is likely due to the character coding on the retailer’s website being unable to accurately reproduce the information being taken from the brand data provider.

ella's kitchen baby food asda search results
Asda website 8 October 2015

 

Tesco substituted the ampersand for the word “and” in 40 of its 109 listings of Cow & Gate products. Waitrose did not include the brand name in two listings of Organix Goodies products. Heinz and Hipp Organic had perfect brand name compliance in all six retailers.

Product Description Representation

Sainsbury’s and Tesco included product descriptions on all of the listings of the five brands.

Heinz had the poorest product description representation with missing descriptions in Asda, Morrisons and Ocado. All Heinz baby food product listings on the Waitrose website did not contain a product description.

baby food missing product descriptions online
Data  from 1 October 2015

 

Product descriptions are extremely important in influencing shopper decision making. Organic brands, such as Ella’s Kitchen, Hipp Organic and Organix should take particular care to ensure that all product descriptions clearly highlight that the product is organic.

On 1 October 2015, just 1.1 percent of Ella’s Kitchen listings in Asda and 25.5 percent in Sainsbury’s contained the word “organic”. Almost a third, 31.8 percent, of Ella’s Kitchen product descriptions directed the shopper to its website and did not contain product information.

Organix need to address the accuracy of product descriptions in Asda, as no descriptions in this retailer contained the term “organic”.

organic baby food product descriptions
Data from 1 October 2015

 

Product roundels

Asda, Morrisons and Ocado all use roundels on their product pages to visually direct shoppers to key product features, such as organic, vegetarian etc.

The presence of a roundel highlighting the organic property of the product to the shopper could be beneficial for brands such as Ella’s Kitchen, Hipp Organic and Organix.

ella's kitchen ocado website
Ocado website 12 October 2015

 

Organix had the greatest percentage of missing roundels promoting the organic composition of its products in each retailer. It was missing these roundels from 39.4 percent of its listings in Ocado.

 

roundels missing

Baby food brands should look to improve shopper engagement online. Shoppers buying organic, premium brands will expect the best quality, so negative reviews or low ratings will be particularly damaging.

Brands must understand the nuances of shopper behaviour and which search terms they employ. A high search placement for the term “baby food” is not sufficient enough to ensure good product Discoverability. Brands must work with retailers to optimise the placement of their products for more targeted search terms such as “organic baby food”.

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